On Wednesday Barcelona star Lionel Messi played his 100th Champions League game at the Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma, becoming the youngest player ever achieve this feat. He officially became a Champions League centurion.
Centurions often suffered heavy casualties in battle, generally fighting alongside the legionaries they commanded.
They usually led from the front, occupying a position at the front right of the century formation. They led and inspired their men by example. They also sought to display the skill and courage that may have brought them to their rank in the first place. It is for these reasons that they often suffered a disproportionate number of casualties.
This describes Messi’s exploits over his past 11 years in the UEFA Champions League.
Messi joined the Blaugrana army’s troop to Europe on 7 December 2004. It was a cold night in Donetsk, Ukraine and the young soldier couldn’t do much to help his team.
Frank Rijkaard was the General in charge but he could do little to stop his team from losing. However, he knew the young soldier Messi had potential and would lead the battle someday even if the General is not really skilled.
Messi scored his first goal in the competition on 2 November 2005, the third of a 5-0 demolition of Panathinaikos at the Camp Nou and has scored 48 goals in his 100 games in the competition to date.
All hail the centurion!