How many trophies does Lionel Messi have?

Millions of people all over the world have been tuning in to watch the 2022 Qatar World Cup, especially the explosive final between France and Argentina. In the end, we saw Lionel Messi and Argentina lift the trophy victoriously, proving to the world that whether you agree that Messi is the greatest of all time or not, he has a highly impressive collection of trophies that make him one of the most decorated professional soccer players in the world.

During his 18-year career, Messi has achieved numerous honors. So, just how many trophies circle in Leo Messi’s orbit, you may ask? Well, here is a list of Messi’s major awards.

With FC Barcelona:

  • 10 La Liga titles (2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19)
  • 7 Copa del Rey titles (2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2020–21)
  • 8 Spanish Super Cup titles (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018)
  • 4 UEFA Champions League titles (2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15)
  • 3 UEFA Super Cup titles (2009, 2011, 2015)
  • 3 FIFA Club World Cup titles (2009, 2011, 2015)

With Paris Saint-Germain:

  • Ligue 1 title (2021-2022)
  • Trophée des Champions title (2022)

With Argentina:

  • FIFA World Youth Championship (2005)
  • Summer Olympics (2008)
  • Copa América (2021)
  • CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions (2022)
  • FIFA World Cup (2022)

Individual:

  • 7 FIFA Ballon d’Or awards (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021)
  • FIFA World Player of the Year (2009)
  • The Best FIFA Men’s Player (2019)
  • 6 European Golden Shoe awards (2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19)
  • 2 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball awards (2014, 2022)
  • FIFA World Cup Silver Boot (2022)
  • 2 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball (2009, 2011)
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball (2005)
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Boot (2005)
  • 2 Copa América Best Player awards (2015, 2021)
  • Copa América Top Goalscorer (2021)
  • 6 La Liga Best Player awards (2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15)
  • 8 Pichichi Trophy awards (2009−10, 2011–12, 2012−13, 2016–17, 2017−18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21)
  • Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (2020)
  • 14 Argentine Footballer of the Year awards (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021)

Clearly, Lionel Messi’s achievements show he is one of the best soccer players, if not the greatest of all time. He is a force to be reckoned with, a living legend whose career will go down in history and live on forever.

-Lam T.

Stephen Curry’s Magical 2016 Season

Stephen Curry’s 2016 regular season was one of the greatest ever.  He won the MVP unanimously with all 131 first-place votes.  He won the scoring title by averaging 30 points a game.  He did it with outstanding efficiency as he shot 50% from the field, 45% from three, and 90% from the free throw line, joining the 50-40-90 club.  Curry was unstoppable at the three-point line, hitting 402 threes in the season, shattering his previous record of 286 threes in a single season. 

Curry was not as good on defense, but he was still great.  He led the league in steals with 2.1 a game and was top 15 in both defensive win shares and defensive box plus-minus.  Overall, the Golden State Warriors were the second-best defensive team in the league, and Curry was a big part of that.  

Unfortunately, the Warriors did not cap off the season with an NBA championship.  They blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals right after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship by upsetting the Warriors in games 5, 6, and 7. The Warriors won game 4 in Cleveland, taking a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  However, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving played incredibly over the last three games, leading them to three straight wins to defeat the Golden State Warriors.  Nonetheless, Stephen Curry’s 2016 unanimous MVP season is still one of the most dominant seasons of all time.

Books about Stephen Curry are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

2022 World Cup

The 2022 World Cup has come and gone, just like it does every 4 years. However, this World Cup will go down as one of the top World Cups in history.

 The 2022 tournament in Qatar brought tons of surprises, and wrapped up with the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) completing his trophy collection and accomplishing the most decorated career possible in the sport of football(or soccer). 

If you don’t know much about the World Cup, don’t worry, I’ll give a brief explanation real quick. It is played between the national teams of the qualifying country. To qualify for the tournament, teams need to be successful in the World Cup Qualifiers or be the host country. The tournament starts in the Group Stage, where there are 8 groups of 4 countries, and after each team plays 3 matches (against the 3 other teams in the group). Then, the top 2 countries from each group enter the knockout stage, where if you lose, you go home. The winners keep advancing until they reach the last match of the tournament, the World Cup Final. The 2 teams that lost in the semifinals also receive a chance to compete for the 3rd through a 3rd place match. 

In the 2022 World Cup, we saw Belgium, the team ranked 2nd in the FIFA national team rankings, go out in the group stage. Denmark, the 10th ranked team, and Germany, the 11th ranked team, also failed to advance to the knockout rounds. However, the biggest surprise came from Italy, the 6th ranked team, not even qualifying to take part in the World Cup. 

A pleasant surprise came when we saw Christian Pulisic and the USMNT (US Men’s National Team) qualify for the round of 16, before ultimately falling 3-1 to The Netherlands. In the Round of 16, we also saw Morocco knock out Spain on their way to the Quarterfinals. 

In the Quarterfinals, we witnessed some more surprising upsets. First, Luka Modric and Croatia stunned Neymar Jr and Brazil by drawing with them at the end of extra time, even after Neymar’s 105+1’ goal as Petkovic (Croatia) came up with an equalizer in the 117’ of the match, 3 minutes before the end of extra time. If you only watch one highlight from the World Cup, I suggest it be Neymar’s goal against Croatia. Then, Croatia proceeded to beat Brazil in penalties 4-2, sending the 1st ranked team home. We also saw Morocco shock the world by upsetting Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal 1-0. Some believe that the Portugal manager, Fernando Santos, made a mistake by bringing Ronaldo off the bench, as it was too late for them to come up with an equalizer. Ronaldo, in probably his last World Cup, was eliminated in the Quarterfinals, with his dream of winning the international tournament being just a dream. Messi and Argentina barely got past the Netherlands in a Penalty Shootout, after the Netherlands came back from a 2-0 deficit and came up with an equalizer in the last minute of second half stoppage time (90+11’). France beat England after Giroud scored a decider (go-ahead goal) in the 78th minute of the contest. Soon after, Harry Kane skied (hit over the goal)  a penalty, missing out on the chance to equalize. 

In the Semi-Finals, the favorites won, as Lionel Messi and Argentina comfortably handled Croatia 3-0, while France defeated Morocco 2-0. However, Morocco’s record-breaking World Cup journey was a huge accomplishment as they became the first African Nation to make the Semi-finals in the tournament. Morocco also received 4th place in the tournament, losing to Croatia in the 3rd place match. 

Finally, in the World Cup Final, we saw 2 powerhouses, Argentina and France, face off for a chance to make history. France was looking to be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend their title and be back-to-back champions. Lionel Messi on Argentina was looking to add the last missing trophy to complete his accomplished trophy cabinet. The match started with Argentina looking dominant while France was worse than terrible. Argentina started off their scoring with a penalty from Messi. Then, Angel Di Maria finished the counter-attack with an outstanding goal, making it 2-0 Argentina. In the 79th minute of action, France received a penalty, and Mbappe nailed it through the bottom left corner (80’). Then, 1 minute later, in the 81st minute, Kylian Mbappe scored another miraculous goal, tying it up at 2-2. It went to Extra time before Messi knocked in another goal in the 108th minute, cleaning up the save from the French Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. In the 118th minute, Mbappe scored another penalty, accomplishing a hat trick and knotting the game at 3-3. However, France also received another chance to score in the 120+3’ where Randal Kolo Muani took a shot between him and the goalkeeper, which the Argentine goalkeeper Emi Martinez saved. The biggest regret for France is Kolo Muani had Mbappe running on his left, and a pass to the French superstar could’ve won them the tournament. Argentina outlasted France in the penalty shootout, winning 4-2 and giving Messi his much desired World Cup victory. 

In conclusion, the 2022 Qatar World Cup was definitely one of the wildest World Cups yet, and I await the 2026 world cup with tremendous excitement.

Michael Jordan’s Legendary Career

Michael Jordan is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  Drafted third overall in the 1984 draft, He won rookie of the year averaging 28 points a game.  But three games into the next season, Jordan suffered a broken foot which kept him sidelined for the majority of the season.  Jordan came back in 1986, averaged 37 points, and won his first scoring title. He also became the first player to win defensive player of the year and averaged 35 points a game in 1988. Jordan was a monster on both offense and defense.  He would go on to win six straight scoring titles from 1987 to 1993.  Jordan wins three consecutive championships from 1991 to 1993, but then shockingly retired after the 1993 championship season to go play baseball for two years before coming out of retirement at the end of the 1995 NBA season.  He would then come back and win three more scoring titles, three more championships, and three more NBA finals MVPs from 1996 to 1998.   He was the greatest scorer ever winning ten scoring titles, and averaging a record-high 30.1 points per game.  Michael Jordan was the most dominant player in his prime obliterating everyone he faced.

Jordan retired again after the 1998 championship run because the Bulls had fired his head coach Phil Jackson.  Jordan was not willing to play for any other coach so he retires for a second time.  Jordan would then return to basketball again for two more years in 2001 and 2002 to play for the Washington Wizards.  But everyone could tell it was not the Prime Jordan that had won 10 scoring titles.  He still played great averaging 20 points in both seasons, but it was not the same as before.  Jordan retires at the end of the 2002 season at the age of 40 and ended one of the great careers of all time.

Books about Michael Jordan are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

ESPN Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football - Leagues, Rankings, News, Picks & More - ESPNMany of you probably enjoy watching sports, whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, or even hockey. Now, what if I told you that you could have your own virtual team including your favorite players that help you get wins every week? Well, actually, you can!

ESPN Fantasy Sports is an app that allows you to play fantasy football, basketball, or any other major professional team sport in America (except soccer). 

To get started, you just need to create an account with ESPN Fantasy. Then, you can join a random online league and/or create your own league where you invite your friends to join. After creating a fantasy league of your choice, you need to send the invite link to your friends who you would like to join the league. Then, you can arrange a draft time when you and your fellow fantasy players will be able to draft your fantasy team. You can choose any player, from any team, to draft. 

After the draft, you can drop and pick up players onto your roster. You can also do trades with other teams, exchanging players, sometimes multiple at a time. 

I definitely recommend making a fantasy football league when the next season comes around (It might be too late now for this season) as it is extremely popular and fun to play. Since I enjoy basketball, I am also in a Fantasy Basketball league, but I suggest you make/join a fantasy league based on the sports you like. If you like hockey, maybe join a fantasy hockey league. If you enjoy baseball, maybe create a fantasy baseball league. In addition, the WNBA also has a fantasy league, so if that’s something you’re interested in, go for it! 

Fantasy football (and other sports) is one of my favorite activities to share with my friends. Whether it’s negotiating trades, trying to decide which players to choose on draft day, or competing in a neck-and-neck battle between fantasy teams, fantasy is a great way to socialize with friends, while competing at the same time! 

FIFA 22

Although many people have heard of NBA 2K and Madden NFL, you would be surprised to hear about how less popular another sports-related video game is. FIFA 22 is my favorite video game, despite the fact that I don’t play or watch soccer. So, today I will be introducing you to FIFA, the soccer video game that allows you to play with many (and almost all) professional soccer teams in the world. Whether you want to play with a powerhouse like Real Madrid or a less popular team, FIFA will allow you to use your favorite players and replicate the most thrilling matches! 

Just like MyTeam in NBA2K and Madden Ultimate Team in Madden NFL, FIFA also has a game mode for you to create your dream lineup by collecting player cards. You can purchase these cards through auctions or pull them from packs. This game mode, FIFA Ultimate Team, makes you feel like a general manager! 

In addition, you can create your own player in the FIFA Career Mode. You can choose his height, weight, kit number, team, and position. Personally, the goalkeeper and striker (primary attacker) are some interesting positions I recommend trying in this mode. If you don’t want to create your own player, you can also play as someone who already exists, such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. 

There are other game modes in this video game, too. One of my favorite ways to play FIFA is through Tournament Mode where I get to choose a team and compete in their country’s league (Ligue 1 for French teams, English Premier League for English teams, La Liga for Spanish teams, and more). I like playing with Paris Saint Germain because of their super-team with Mbappe in the middle and Neymar and Messi at the wings. 

In conclusion, FIFA is an awesome game that I wish I had tried earlier than only a few months ago. If you ever need a new game to play, give FIFA a try! 

Last Chance U: Basketball (Netflix TV Show)

One thing that most of us have in common is that we absolutely love watching Netflix. Whether it’s the newest sitcom TV Show or that adventure movie that you’ve already watched 5 times but can’t get enough of, Netflix has an almost unlimited array of options. Even though its known for its TV Shows and movies, the popular streaming service does not disappoint when it comes to documentaries and docuseries. 

An interesting docuseries that I recently discovered and quickly finished is Last Chance U: Basketball. While you may have heard about Last Chance U: Football, which has 5 different parts, Last Chance U: Basketball is a new docu-series that came out in 2021. It takes the viewers through the journey of the East LA Junior College basketball team’s path to the playoffs. Winning the championship would do wonders for the players who have gone through so much and ended up here. These players who are worthy of playing Divison 1 Basketball if not for the experiences they have had. These players who have lost so much and are trying to earn it back. 

Firstly, East LA’s basketball coach is a religious man, who wants the best for the players and understands them the best. John Mosley is his name, and he is like a father figure for these kids, who almost have nothing else. The players love him, but are also annoyed by his strategies. However, he always makes them earn it by teaching them about hard work and taking no days off. 

Deshaun Highler, the starting shooting guard of the team, lost his mom to cancer before the documentary. In this docuseries, he talks about how he has tried coping with the pain his mom’s death has brought him. Deshaun experiences ups and downs throughout East LA’s 2019-2020 season, but he and Coach Mosley find ways for him to fight past the struggles. 

Joe Hampton, the reserve center of East LA throughout the 2019-2020 season, could’ve been in a much better place at the time of the docuseries, except for his trouble controlling his feelings, typically of anger. As said by many during this show, Joe is incredibly talented, but his injuries when playing for Penn State, a D1 school, forced him to have to transfer to a junior college. After experiencing such lows in life, he often feels fed up and needs to calm himself down, in his own ways. 

Last Chance U: Basketball is one of my favorite docuseries I have watched on Netflix, and I definitely recommend it to anyone. You don’t need to be obsessed with basketball to enjoy this show because this isn’t only a show about basketball, but also about life.

High School Sports

As a senior going into high school, I have taken many opportunities to reflect upon prior high school years, from freshman year, to sophomore year, to the most recent junior year. Even though I have admittedly faced plenty with school, such as homework, tests, and balance with my personal life, I will admit that sports has had a massive impact on my high school experience. Going into freshman year, I had my own club sport and highly debated on whether or not I should do a sport or deal with another round of PE during high school. As a last minute decision due to a recommendation from a friend, I decided to try out for the cross country team and made it on thanks to a decision from one of my coaches.

Although the first semester of my freshman year did not end well due to an early injury that year affecting my first cross country season and feelings of disconnection from a friend group, I grew dedicated to the sport after my recovery and the following Track season that year, despite being cut short due to the coronavirus, had some kind of payoff for me after my injury. However, the lockdown ended up with a disconnection between me and the rest of my team. Although sophomore year did face some setbacks due to the ongoing pandemic, I did end up racing during Track season that year, notably going sub 5 minutes in the 1600m and sub 11 minutes in the 3200m, as well as making more friends on the team. After that year, I had goals to Varsity letter next year in both XC and Track.

During my junior year, I was under plenty of pressure on myself, as well as mental stress balancing heavy schoolwork, personal life, and sports. My XC season was definitely my most successful season yet, as I went 16:16 in the 3 mile race during Sea View League Finals and had the best race of my life that race alongside two of my best friends and teammates, creating a great memory. Following League Finals, my team qualified for CIF, and I had my second favorite race at CIF Finals at the hilly Mt. Sac course with a time of 17:12. Although my Track season did not top my XC season, I did have some good races, such as going under 4:50 in the 1600m and improving by 30 seconds in the 3200m with a time of 10:20.

Even though I had plenty of success throughout my sports career, the truth is that I could not have done a single part of it without my teammates. I ran with them everyday, talked with them, and shared plenty of moments and memories with them to the point where I can honestly say that they are a significant part of my life. Even though we have had struggles and arguments like a team normally does, we have come together and found success last year and look to continue our success to even greater lengths this upcoming year. High school sports has made a huge impact on my life and I’d highly recommend anyone to take high school sports and gain that experience.

How Stephen Curry Defies Expectations

Wardell Stephen Curry was born on March 14th, 1988. He had a brother and a sister. His father was a great shooter in the NBA and played for the Charlotte Hornets. 

Early in life, Curry loved basketball and always practiced shooting and scrimmaging with his brother in their backyard. As he finished middle and high school, people began doubting Curry for his size, despite his incredible shooting. Curry was criticized because of his size and some argued that he wouldn’t survive in college/nba. But he proved them all wrong and was drafted 7th in the 2009 draft.

 In the first few seasons, Curry dealt with many ankle injuries and had to have surgery to repair it. People began to doubt him once again. In 2015, Curry would win the MVP and prove everyone wrong, going on to win the championship that season by defeating Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games.

Over the next 7 years, he would lead his team to a 73-9 record, win 3 more championships, a unanimous MVP, and a finals MVP. He has proved himself to be the greatest shooter of all time and certainly a top 10 player in NBA history.

Interesting Sports Podcasts to Try

If you get bored while running, resting, or doing whatever it is that you like to do, you might want to try a podcast. I enjoy listening to sports podcasts to discover the opinions of experts on certain topics, and I’m here to share some of my favorite ones with you. 

There are 3 podcasts that I feel separate themselves from the rest of them and for different reasons. Some of them offer incredible insight on basketball, while others are fun because they have people debating passionately about players and headlines. 

The Draymond Green Show

The host of this show is the man himself, Draymond Green. He breaks down NBA games and talks about how his team, the Golden State Warriors, played and how the other games went down. His podcasts are especially fun to listen to after he has a big game or an important moment in a game, such as an ejection. Sometimes, he’ll have a guest on the show, who might be a fellow NBA player or someone associated with the NBA. His attention to detail really shows in his podcasts, and I recommend his podcast to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about basketball. This is definitely my favorite podcast at the moment. 

First Take:

What’s better in a sports podcast than Stephen A. Smith yelling at Kendrick Perkins or someone else on the show for their “blasphemous” takes? With various guests on the show as well as the usual crew (Molly Qerim, Stephen A. Smith, and sometimes Kendrick Perkins), the podcast can be really entertaining to listen to or also watch on ESPN. On this show, they primarily debate about basketball, but also have some sections that include football or baseball. Although it’s not my favorite podcast, it’s definitely in the top 2 and I love occasionally listening to small segments at a time. 

Skip and Shannon: Undisputed:

If you want a lot of deep analysis about the game of basketball, don’t go to this show. If you want to see Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe bickering back and forth for two and a half hours, then this is for you. On Undisputed, the 2 hosts don’t really talk about what teams need to do or what they should have done, but they debate on controversial topics concerning ejections, who’s better than who, and certain plays. However, before listening to this podcast, be aware that a lot of the things Skip and Shannon say are heavily biased, especially the ones from Skip. That being said, this show is still a lot of fun and I definitely recommend you check it out. 

If you’re a basketball (or sports) enthusiast, in summer, you might find yourself bored with nothing to do, and if so, give these podcasts/shows a listen. You probably won’t regret it!

-Mert A.