December 2019 Holiday Premium Auction
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Offered is another spectacularly high-end example of the most iconic and important modern soccer rookie card in the hobby, the 2004 Panini Mega Cracks #71 Lionel Messi. A single tolerable chip along the reverse top edge appears to be all that holds this nearly immaculate card from a higher grade, not just from Mint 9 consideration, but from Gem Mint 10. Every other feature appears to be pristine. Gem Mint corners join otherwise Gem Mint edges around two spectacular surfaces devoid of any print, dents, or scratches that so commonly plague the issue. An extremely and self-evidently high-end example.

Widely regarded as the greatest active soccer player on the planet and arguably of all-time, 32-year old Lionel Messi is that rare once-in-a-lifetime talent who has achieved international super-stardom all while maintaining—unlike others in his class such as Ronaldo and Maradona—his loyalty to club and country, his inspirational leadership, and his humility and jovial good nature. Coaches and retired players around the globe agree that his talent is unlike any other, and they warn fans to pay close attention now, for like Michael Jordan we will sorely miss him when he's gone. Holder of far too many records and trophies to list here, it's exciting to imagine what else he might accomplish before reaching Ronaldo's age (34) and just how long he might be able to continue adding to the record books.

One of the defining characteristics of Messi's style of play is that, like a well-programmed machine, he conserves energy for when he needs it most. He stalks the pitch, often at a leisurely walking pace, studying the competition, the gaps, the angles, the possibilities, and he conserves his energy for great bursts of activity that often result in assists and goals. While he certainly hasn't invented anything new, per say, his creative style of play has been likened to that of actual art, and his reliance on efficiency and real time analysis will be studied by players until the end of time. Hopefully, for our sakes as fans, Messi will be able to extend his efficient style of play to his larger career and give us several more years of artistry and awe.

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