Knew: What I knew about Messi and Pelé did not leave the soccer field. I knew that both men were regarded as soccer gods in their respective countries. These men are icons to anyone who knows anything about soccer and the common story of the domination that follows both men. I had also been well aware of the prevalence of both these players from a very young age. Both seemed destined for greatness from the very beginning. I have not been one for soccer as I have never been able to play it well so I never really gave it a chance. That being said, I didn’t know much about these two legends.

New: Starting with Pelé, I did not know that he too found the struggle of life after sports, as many athletes do. His need for money tarnished his legacy. Pelé took on many lucrative endorsements in the name of a quick buck. It also struck me as interesting that Pelé wanted to just play soccer and ignore the political corruption that so often plagued his country. Pelé was exactly what the corporate soccer world wanted him to be. The bigger shock came from the podcast on Messi. I was not aware of the turmoil that struck Messi’s world politically at such a young age. In a sense, you can relate to Messi’s desire to stay and play for his native country. But I think Messi’s move to Spain shows both the patience and opportunistic nature of Messi. I am astonished to learn of Messi’s undying patriotism for Argentina at a time when it would have been easy for him to fall victim to the monetary reward that came with European soccer. The main thing I learned about Messi is the fairytale of a life he has lived. Not a fairytale in which he lives on Easy Street, but one in which the underdog accomplishes everything he sets out to do regardless of the many obstacles and variables that beset him, even from childhood. The main thing I took from both pieces, is just how little we know about our heroes. How much more are our favorite soccer players than just a god on the field? It seems that we have more in common with them than we’d ever imagine.