We often judge a player by goals, assist and clean sheets but a cool temperament on the pitch is certainly an understated quality.
In big games some individuals can let frustrations get the better of them, but a select few can keep level-headed in a heated environment.
For example, former Barcelona forward Neymar was accused of letting his frustrations get the better of him when footage emerged of him hitting out at teammate Nelson Semedo during a training session in Miami last year.
He was eventually restrained by Sergio Busquets, and the former Santos man walked off the pitch while kicking football’s and throwing his training bib in frustration.
Many labelled the 25-year-old as childish for his ‘classless’ actions.
On the other hand, one player who can channel his anger into world-beating performances is Barcelona teammate and five time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
In a fascinating extract from Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography, former teammate Thierry Henry told a brilliant story about Messi when he got angry during a particular session.
Henry recalled a time when his teammate was fouled in training and didn’t receive a free-kick from his coach:
“So when the ball went back to his goalkeeper, he (Messi) ran back and demanded the ball.
“The goalkeeper rolled him the ball, and Messi then proceeded to run through the entire team and score in anger.”
Messi does magical things when he’s angry, just ask Thierry Henry. Image: PAFerdinand then went into more detail about his conversation with Henry, mentioning the moment he knew ‘Messi was different to anyone we’ve ever seen’:
“Thierry said that was what he used to do in the playground at school. I did stuff like that too against little kids. But he (Messi) did it against some of the best in the world: Yaya Toure, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets.
“And it wasn’t just that one time. He did it a couple of times.
“Thierry said: ‘Can Ronaldo do that?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve never seen him do that.’
Thierry played with Zidane and Ronaldinho but they never did anything like that. He said: ‘That’s when I knew Messi was different to anyone we’ve ever seen.'”
In another interview with Sky Sports, Henry went on to speak about how Messi reacts when he’s upset in trainin:
“I have seen him doing stuff in training and it is just amazing. When he gets upset, he runs around the whole team. There is nothing you can do.” Henry said.
“When you have Leo Messi it is a big advantage. When you have that man in your side, anything can happen.”
Lionel Messi, ladies and gentlemen. Is he the greatest player of all time?
Let us know in the comments.