In the sport of soccer or football or whatever you desire to call it, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez are widely believed to be the best in the world at this moment. This becomes interesting from a personality typing perspective because all 3 of them have different types. Messi is an ENTP, Ronaldo an ENFP, and Suarez an ESFP.
It is no surprise that all three of them are Perceivers. This aspect of their personality that keeps all doors and ideas open allows them to be unpredictable to defenders. Perceivers dominate sports because of that. All three being extraverted is probably just a case of percentages as extraverts are the majority of the population in general and in sports as well.
Suarez thrives off of spontaneity more so than his contemporaries and that is the nature of the ESFP. That spontaneity and his emotional nature are also what led him astray in his well documented biting incidents on the pitch. Some of the more shocking episodes in the history of sports have come from ESFPs letting the heat of the moment grasp hold of their actions, including Roberto Alomar spitting at an umpire in baseball and Ron Artest charging the Detroit crowd in the middle of a basketball game. That is not meant to be an excuse for Suarez and his episodes as other ESFPs throughout history have been able to successfully manage their outbursts on the field or in arenas. A few people have noted recently that Suarez is a bit like an NFL running back with the way he has bursts of speed, is powerful, and has a knack for finding openings with his cutting. They are very observant as this type populates a very high number of NFL backfields. ESFPs are very powerful by nature and have phenomenal command of their large muscles. Defenders seem to bounce off of them. Criticism has also come his way for making the most out of meager contact, but ESFPs have very strong responses to sometimes minimal physical contact. Lebron James is an ESFP that gets labeled with the same sort of critiques. It’s an xxFP characteristic and something that Ronaldo and Suarez share. Managers should be sensitive to the emotional nature of the ESFP because any perceived slights can drive them off the rails and poison the atmosphere of the locker room. Lastly, one of the main desires of the ESFP is to put on a show and bring joy and harmony to as many people as possible. ESFPs are typically some of the hardest workers in practice and in the weight room because of that eagerness to please crowds and their teammates. They are the life of the party and are usually well liked by their teammates as well.
ENFPs are generally fast and acrobatic and therefore excel in track in field or as wide receivers in American football. Ronaldo exemplifies that very well. He is tall, jumps higher than you, runs faster than you, and outsmarts you as well. As a feeling perceiver, he is also susceptible to emotional outbursts that can get him into trouble, but the incidents are much less drastic and dramatic than the ESFP. He typically beats his man with pace and deception, similarly to how a wide receiver creates separation from a cornerback. Combining that ability with a powerful and accurate shot has proven to be a deadly formula for success. ENFPs are motivators and one of the best personality types to be a top player on the team because they are encouraging and helpful to teammates. That may clash with some widely held beliefs about Ronaldo not passing enough, but he has had strong assists(29 over the past 3 years) and key passes per game numbers for his entire La Liga career. What also makes them a good leader is their training workrate. His feeling nature was on full display for his 2013 Ballon d’Or acceptance where tears were flowing during his acceptance speech. It is not necessarily unique that winning a Ballon d’Or would produce tears, but leave it to a Feeling Perceiver to have emotions so over the top that they become the main story. From a coaching standpoint, positive encouragement is the way to get the most out of the ENFP as negative feedback can be taken as a major slight and affect performance, unless they have major respect for the manager on a personal and tactical level. ENFPs can get very far in most fields when they feel validated by people they respect.
What stands out when you watch Lionel Messi play is his pace and the seemingly magnetic connection between the football and his boot. Even in a team of world class players, Messi is able to glow like a beacon. Standing out is common for ENTPs in all walks of life and at all ages. Most of Hollywood is made up of ENTPs and they have a knack for coping well with the spotlight. With Messi being the only Thinking-dominant player out of the 3 being observed in this blog, it is therefore not surprising that he is the least controversial of them as far as on-field incidents. You are left analyzing his play instead. ENTPs are well rounded individuals that can turn into major forces in any trade that they become obsessed with. This is certainly the case here as Lionel made his league debut at the age of 17. He is the least spontaneous of the three, but probably the most clinical in his passing, shooting, and dribbling. Less likely(but still able and willing!) to beat you with a trick, he will still shuttle past defenders to most spots he wants to get to with speed and incredible technique. Emotions aren’t likely to phase his mindset in a negative way. His well-rounded nature likely allows him to be a popular teammate on top of the on-field brilliance. ENTPs are open to negative or positive feedback from managers because they have thick skin and genuinely will value any edge to help them beat their competition. Being well-read and open to suggestions for improvement will likely prolong Messi’s career as he loses some of his youthful athleticism.
Overall, you can see how multiple different personality types can manifest themselves to create the greats. Sporting legends in fluid sports generally come from the ISTPs, INFPs, ISFPs, ENFPs, ENTPs, ESTPs, and ESFPs. So many pieces of the puzzle need to come together for legendary results, though. A four year old ENTP is not going to just magically turn into Lionel Messi. He or she needs to get the proper training, techniques, encouragement, natural attributes, opportunities, and many, many other stars to align. It will be riveting to see how the careers of all three of these athletes pan out from here and who will be joining them.