Thanks to his growth problem, the most gifted footballer on earth entered the best football academy on earth, Barcelona’s Masía. The Masía saved him from becoming a second Maradona. Like many players of his era, Maradona had lived like a rock star. But Barcelona had learned from Maradona, and later from Ronaldinho. Both had joined Barça as the world’s best youngster. Both had fallen for temptation: Maradona for cocaine, Ronaldinho for drink.
Temptation found Messi, too. After he broke into Barcelona’s first team, Ronaldinho began taking him out on the town. Finally, Josep Guardiola, then coach of Barça’s second team, told him: ‘You’ve two options. Either you keep on partying, and you’ll be out of here in days. Or you start eating properly, quit the alcohol, go to bed early and come to practice on time. Only then might you become the best in the world.’
”—Simon Kuper The Football Men: Up Close with the Giants of the Modern Game (2011)