1. Balance: At 5ft 7in, Lionel Messi is just two inches taller than his idol Diego Maradona, and shares the same astonishing balance and lower body strength. This allows Messi to move laterally at incredible speed, which is why he darts inside flat-footed left-backs with such ease.
2. Composure: Messi wastes few chances once through on goal, and rarely snatches at a shot. Once into the penalty area, he will often wait for a goalkeeper to commit himself before drinking the ball over him and into the net.
3. Control: Like all true greats, Messi doesn't need one touch just to control the ball. Instead, his first touch often doubles as the opening stage of a goal-bound surge.
4. Dribbling: If there's one strength which elevates Messi above the rest of the world's great players, it is dribbling. The ability to beat a number of defenders in succession makes him a truly unique talent, and, at times, almost unstoppable. Although spectacular, there is nothing ostentatious in Messi's dribbing, he's runs are often lethally direct. Just like Maradona, Messi is a largely one-sided player, rarely using his right foot once he reaches full speed. But his magnetic control of the ball with his left is so extraordinary that he can go inside, outside, or through the legs of a defender.
5. Generosity: Messi puts a dent in the idea that forwards must be selfish to score goals. Although, on occasion, he can be guilty of ignoring better placed team-mates, Messi isn't motivated by personal glory. That's the reason why he's got more assists to goal as compared to his rivals.
6. Passing: Messi has the vision and deftness to pick out his team-mates & we've seen numerous example's of his passing ability.
7. Power: Messi is an artist & does not rely on power. He prefers the scalpel to the shotgun, but he is able to generate great shooting power from outside the penalty area, and do so with a barely perceptible backlift.
8. Speed: With the small, squat build of a sprinter, Messi has incredible acceleration from a standing start. He bursts out of the blocks and reaches full speed within five yards, the kind of pace which defenders find so difficult to deal with. His short stride means he is also able to change direction at nauseating speed while keeping control of the ball.
9. Awareness: Unlike other natural dribblers, Messi keeps his head up while on the move. This gives him options, so if a team-mate has found a pocket of space, Messi will release the ball with a deft flick, then look to receive it again, just like a great fly-half in rugby. That he is surrounded by such intelligent players, who use the ball with such alacrity, means his runs are picked out more often than not.
10. Strength: Kicking Messi doesn't work, as lots of tough defenders across the world have understood it very well. Again, the Maradona comparison is impossible to avoid when discussing Messi's strength, as the bravery and tenacity he shows in possession is equal to that which was the hallmark of the legendary player. Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency as a child, which meant he learnt his trade against bigger and stronger opponents, lessons that have remained with him.