Posted by LACFC "OUR CLUB - OUR PRIDE" on Nov 01 2012 at 08:39AM PDT in 2011-12 Season

Futsal has forged several footballing greats
Five-a-side game helps develop close control
Published: 31/10/2012 at 12:00 AMNewspaper section: Sports

For decades now, futsal has been a popular and much-loved sporting discipline, especially in South America and southern Europe.

And while the indoor version of football is rapidly growing in popularity elsewhere now, it is in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Portugal that futsal has proved a breeding ground for some of the greats of the game.

The list is topped by Lionel Messi. The three-time Fifa World Player of the Year and Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer took his first tentative steps with a ball in the colours of Newell’s Old Boys, although he played futsal rather than football.

“As a little boy in Argentina, I played futsal on the streets and for my club. It was tremendous fun, and it really helped me become who I am today,” the 25-year-old said, reflecting on the benefits of the five-a-side version of the game.

**Messi is by no means the only superstar with futsal roots. Apart from the Argentinian wizard, the likes of Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi and Ronaldo learned the trade in the sport’s hall.