Jersey Monday: Lionel Messi

A few months ago, when my parents told me they were going on a three-week cruise/tour of Europe this summer, I had two immediate reactions:

1. Wow, that's awesome for them. Now that my dad's retired and my mom's getting close to retirement, I hope they take the opportunities they have to do cool stuff like this.

2. I need a Lionel Messi jersey.

Also, those reactions may not have happened in that order.

I don't have many soccer jerseys -- this is, in fact, my second -- and I don't even really consider myself a fan of the sport, but sometimes an athlete comes along who transcends that. Someone who's just so damn good, you can't help but appreciate how good he is. Lionel Messi is one of those athletes.

I'd told my parents they could pick up the jersey in Barcelona, where Messi plays for FC Barcelona and where my parents were making the final stop of their trip. As it turns out, they got it in Italy, near the start of their trip. They told me that Messi jerseys were pretty much ubiquitous wherever they went: Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey... like, EVERYWHERE. I honestly can't think of an athlete who you could say that for in the U.S. Yeah, you can get a LeBron jersey pretty much nationwide, and Tim Tebow's jersey has become a staple, but it really speaks to how soccer is really on another level from anything in the U.S.

Also, ads aside, it's just a really cool looking jersey. Jersey designs in our sports leagues trend toward boringly homogenous or "trendy" awful, so we rarely get to see something like this that looks different (what U.S.-based team would ever use a name font like that), but still good.

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