"He's the new Maradona" – how often have we heard that?
Ortega, Riquelme, Saviola, Tevez – in fact any small, young, Argentine forward gets this label.
And they all fail to live up to it. One after the other these wonderfully gifted young men have been exposed to the media glare and shrunk back, returning to Argentina, or drifting through minor European clubs winning little.
But one player was determined not to live down to this. Not to accept that the spotlight will shift.
So he has taken Maradona's book, his guide, and decided to follow it.
Top player in the youth cup – check.
Barcelona – well, Saviola and Riquelme had done that before – but to miss out on the Euro Cup in such style? Check.
Score a ridiculous goal from the half way line – check.
Team in danger of throwing away the championship, score a handball – check.
But from here young Lionel has a few things left to do.
So far he has yet to win Serie A with an unfashionable club, or to drive his country to success at the World Cup.
Then there is the descent into womanising, alcoholism, the dependence on illegal drugs, and the ballooning weight, and the stolen plastic penis to consider.
So, my advice to Mr Messi - don't stay the new Maradona for long, just because millions consider him the greatest player to have played, does not mean you want to be like him in all things.
The handball in a key game is a good time to stop.