Rio de Janeiro: A four-time world player of the year, Argentina's Lionel Messi is gifted with talents that most footballers can only dream of. What makes him special is that he possesses not just one or two but a combination of special skills that give him an edge over just about everyone.
Although he hasn't played brilliantly in every game of this World Cup, Messi's talents have been on display on Argentina's road to Sunday's final against Germany. Here are five traits that explain what makes the Argentina captain so difficult to stop.
SPEED: There are plenty of players who could outrun Messi in a 100-meter dash. But running with the ball is a different story. Messi can control the ball at close to top speed, making him an excellent dribbler. Also, it's his acceleration rather than his top speed that cuts up defenses. Few defenders can keep up when Messi revs up from standstill, creating space for his left-foot shot.