Federer thanks ‘magician’ Messi in a touching tribute
Roger Federer posted a heartfelt tribute as Lionel Messi was recently named on Time's list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2023.
Tennis legend Federer brought an end to his illustrious career in September 2022 and Messi posted a classy and heartfelt tribute for the Swiss maestro.
"A genius, unique in the history of tennis and an example for any athlete. All the best in your new stage, we will miss seeing you on the court making us enjoy," Messi wrote in his tribute.
Messi has been named in TIME magazine's 100 most influential people of 2023 after captaining his team to World Cup victory and completing football.
Federer, who is arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, has penned a tribute to Messi in the award announcement list, comparing his football to art.
"Lionel Messi's goal-scoring records and championship wins need no recounting here. What stands out to me about Messi, 35, is his consistent greatness over so many years. This is so difficult to achieve, and then maintain. He dribbles like a magician, and his angular passes are works of art. His awareness and anticipation are almost beyond comprehension," Federer wrote.
"My career has just come to an end. I now realize how much weight we athletes carry. But in our daily lives, we don't even realize it. For a football player like Messi, that weight likely feels more massive, as he represents both a world-renowned club and a very passionate country," he added.
"Argentina's World Cup victory was magnificent. Millions of fans' taking to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate was an amazing moment in sports, witnessed around the world. Even those who don't follow football must have realized the true impact of the world's most popular game."
The 20-time Grand Slam winner revealed that he was once a huge fan of the Argentine stars Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta and expressed the hope that Messi will inspire future generations in the same way.
Federer, who declared his retirement from tennis in September 2022, also expressed his wish for Messi, 35, to be able to continue playing for a while.
"Growing up, Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta were my favorite Argentine players. I was lucky enough to meet both of them. They inspired me. Now Messi can inspire future generations," he added. "I can only hope we get to see his unique creativity and artistry for a little bit longer. Don't blink too often as Messi performs on the pitch. You may miss something incredible from the man of the moment."