Lionel Messi's father says he could never have dreamed of the success Barcelona's five-time Ballon d'Or winner has enjoyed.
Messi collected the coveted gong once more at Monday's FIFA gala in Zurich, the latest dazzling achievement of a career journey which began when his family relocated from Argentina to Barcelona with him as a 13-year-old.
Jorge Messi reflected on that time and marvelled at his son's subsequent progress in a letter to Spanish newspaper Marca.
"We left Argentina with a wealth of dreams and illusions, but also many fears. Lionel enjoyed that trip," the letter read.
"I guess he began to forge the idea of succeeding in what he loved most: football.
"Today he is where we never dreamed he could be, a magical place that he started towards in 2007 – the world of football has recognised him five times as the best player on the planet.
"From the family, we are very proud of him because everything he achieved came from huge effort.
"Lionel's spirit and the ability to overcome, and his desire to improve every day, are an inspiration and of great value to those who are close to him."
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