Monthly Archives: June 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños Lionel Messi, The King of Football



The football star defies science’s limits and makes us believe in a beneficent God.

If you have seen Messi play, there is no need for an introduction. He is playing football since five and he experts in drawing non footballers to football fans easily! Watching the talent of what this diminutive Leo does with the ball while defenders block him, wrestle him and come in his way in their futile tactics makes us believe that there is a beneficent God who runs on the Earth’s surface every 15 years in the form of Pele, George Best, Maradona, Zidane and now Messi.

While adoring this little man as God let’s take a look at his science backed game strategy that does magic on field.

It has been scientifically proven that lefties have inverted brain hemisphere functions, this makes them more creative, more dynamic and more unpredictable. Messi is lefty. He controls the ball with left foot which implies that he has a genetic advantage over other players!
And physics can explain some of the awe-inspiring free kicks by this brilliant player! See this amazing just 3 minutes video that exemplifies the conservation of momentum, impulse and almost all Newton’s laws. Perhaps one of the most interesting physics phenomena in soccer after Robert Carlos’s free kick explains the curve behind long distance free kicks.

The physics in these free kicks is called the Magnus effect named after the physicist who explored the phenomenon! In a free kick, when a ball is spinning through air in a direction opposite to the applied force, the ‘Magnus force’ will push it in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the movement.

In the video below, you can see some great visuals that aid in understanding the Magnus effect. But really, this is just an excuse to show you Leo Messi’s amazing free kicks:

In addition to the Magnus effect, there’s plenty of other physics phenomena related to soccer. And since the World Cup fever is still getting hotter, take a look at this overview of the physics behind this soccer. We have included plenty of helpful diagrams and explanations of modern research in this subset of science.

And, today is Lionel Messi’s 27th birthday. He is just 27!

According to his club and country’s stats, since he made the leap to the first team, he’s secured three Champions Leagues, six Ligas, two Copas del Rey, 2 European Super Cups, five Spanish Super Cups, and two FIFA Club World Cups. In addition to the team titles, the Argentinian has secured an enviable collection of individual titles: four FIFA Ballons d’Or, three Golden Boots and one FIFA World Player, among many others.
How many more reasons do you need?

This post was first published on Function Space.