Too hard to watch

FIFA 17: How good is Lionel Messi when he’s 40 years old?

Can the Barca maestro remain one of the world's best players as he gets older?

Lionel Messi may be just 30 years old, but in footballing terms that’s moving into the later stages of a career.

However, as recent performances have shown, the Argentine has no intention of slowing down.

YouTuber Rich Leigh conducted the experiment using FIFA 17’s Career Mode

In fact, he’s arguably produced some of his best football over the past few months.

But how long can the Barca maestro keep this up? Surely they’ll come a point when his ability to influence a game begins to wane?

YouTuber Rich Leigh decided to find out – using FIFA 17’s Career Mode.

Let’s see how Messi gets on (Oh, and he’s playing for Real Madrid, don’t ask us why!).

Age: 30

By 30, his overall rating is down a point at 92

Acceleration takes a hit – dropping four points, while agility is down again at 78.

Other parts his game are withstanding the effects of time.

His overall rating drops to 92.

Age: 31

The Argentine’s physical stats take the most damage as he enters his early thirties

Messi really starts taking some damage now – with his overall rating dropping to 90.

His physical stats take a hammering – especially his acceleration and sprint speed.

Passing and ball control are also affected.

Age: 32

Messi’s powers are starting to wane – especially his physical scores

Messi’s rating dips below the 90s – with his physcial stats taking another hammering.

He loses 10 points from acceleration and 12 off sprint speed.

Elsewhere, though, his other stats are declining at a much slower rate.

Age: 33

The star’s overall rating has now plummeted to 85 – straying dangerously close to silver card status

Messi’s overall rating drops to 85. Sprint speed drops a devastating 17 points, leaving him with just 47.

His dribbling is still well into the 90s and his passing is largely unaffected – but he’s definitely past his peak by now.

Age: 34/ 35

Messi’s sprint speed is 41 – ranking him amongst the game’s slowest players

By the time he’s 35, Messi is down to an 81 overall rating. His sprint speed is now rated at 41, while his once-famed agility is a shocking 45.

Dribbling is still exceptional – as is ball control – but the Argentine is no longer a real threat with the ball.

Age: 36

The Argentine is now well past his best – but still manages to keep decent technical scores

The Argentine’s overall rating drops to 72 – meaning he’s no longer among the game’s best. To put that into perspective, he’d likely be a silver card in FIFA Ultimate Team.

His acceleration is now at 29, sprint speed is 27 and acceleration is 29.

He’s still exceptional at controlling the ball but his passing ability is now starting to wane.

Age: 37

Sprint speed and acceleration are now in danger of going into single figures

Oh, Lionel. What is going on? His overall rating is now 68 – knocking him down to bronze card status.

His sprint speed is now at 18 – making him arguably the slowest player on the game.

His 15 agility means he literally can no longer change direction, either.

Ball control is starting to wane while shot power and long shots are severely blunted.

Age: 38

Sadly, Messi must have some of the worst physical stats of any player in the game

This is getting hard to watch.

Messi now has a score of three for agility, which effectively renders him unable to move.

His sprint speed is now nine and his acceleration, eight.

He’s still decent with the ball at his feet but is now a shadow of the player he once was.

Age: 39

Now the Argentine’s technical stats start degrading – with his dribbling dropping to 68

Messi’s overall rating drops to a shocking 57… but just take a look at those physical scores.

He has one for acceleration, agility and sprint speed, meaning that any goalkeeper would thrash him in a footrace.

He can’t pass, either – with his short passing score now at 53.

He’s still decent at free kicks, though – but surely Messi has to retire.

Age: 40

By 40, Messi offers nearly nothing in attack – utterly heartbreaking

Sure enough, he does – aged 40.

His stats have taken an absolute hammering – with the poor Argentine now not able to last a full game, or move, for that matter.

His ball control hasn’t left him, though – and even at this age he’s still got a decent touch.

Whatever his final rating, Messi will always be a legend.