Lionel Messi was born on the 24th 0f June 1987 in Rosario. He is the third child of Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini. His Dad was a steel factory worker while his mum was working in a magnet manufacturing workshop. Messi had a passion for football at a very young age, he constantly played football with his brothers who were professional footballers at the time. At the age of four, Messi joined Grandoli, a local club, where he was coached by his father, his main influencer was his grandma Celia who later died. He was affected by her death. At the age of six, he joined Newell’s Old Boys, he was a lifelong supporter of the club. For six years that he played for the club, he nearly scored 500 goals as a member of the machine of 87. He was 10 years old when he was diagnosed with growth hormone defieciency. As he was growing up, his goalscoring Idol was Ronaldo de lima who was playing for Barcelona at the moment.
After completing his hormone treatment at the age of 14, he became an integral part of Barcelona’s greatest ever youth team Baby Dream Team after relocating with his Dad to Spain. During the 2002/03 campaign which was his first full season, he was the highest goal scorer with 36 goals in 30 appearances. The youth team won the unprecedented treble consisting of the Youth League Title, Spanish Cup, and the Catalans Cup. At the end of the season, he was offered to join the English club Arsenal, his first offer from a foreign club but he turned down the offer to remain in Barcelona. His fellow youth teammates and friends like Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique opted to leave for England.
At the age of 16 years and four months, Lionel Messi made his first-team debut when he came on in the 75th minute during a friendly match against FC Porto which was coached by Jose Mourinho at the time. His performance in the match earned him a call up to be training daily with the club reserve side Barcelona B and weekly with the first team. His consistent progress was reflected in his first professional contract signed on the 4th of February 2004 till 2012 before it expires. The contract contained a buyout clause of 30 million euros initially, but it increased to 80 million euros a month later after he debuted for Barcelona B. In five games he played for the second team he did not score due to being physically weak compared to his opponents. In training, he then worked on increasing his muscle mass and overall strength to shake off defenders.
During the 2004/05 campaign, he was a guaranteed striker of the Barcelona B team, he then scored six goals in 17 games for the team. In October 2004, some set of first-team players asked their manager Frank Rijkaard to promote him to the first team since Ronaldinho is already played on the left-wing. The former Barcelona manager Rijkaard then moved Messi to his usual position on the right flank allowing him to cut into the centre of the pitch and take a shot with his overriding left foot.
Barcelona First Team
On the 16th of October 2004, Lionel Messi returned to the first team and made his league debut against Espanyol coming on in the 82nd minute at the age of 17. Messi was the youngest player to debut for Barcelona in an official competitive match. The youngster played 77 minutes in nine matches as a substitute for the first team including his UEFA Champions League debut. He scored a first senior goal on the 1st of May 2005 against Albacete, the goal was assisted by Ronaldinho and became the youngest ever scorer for the Spanish giants at that time.
Lionel Messi signed his professional contract on his 18th birthday as a senior team player, it made him Barcelona’s player till 2010, two years less than his previous contract. The buyout clause in the contract was increased to 150 million euros and his breakthrough came two months later in August during the Joan Gamper Trophy, a preseason competition which Barcelona contested for. He started a match for the first time for Barcelona and he put out a good performance which earned him applauds from Camp Nou. His contract was updated for the second time on the 16th of September and extended to 2014 to fend interest from Inter Milan. He gradually established himself as Barcelona’s first choice right-winger and he formed an attacking trio with Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o. During the 2006/07 campaign, he scored 17 goals in 36 games throughout all games. On the 10th of March, he scored his first hat trick in an El Clasico match, becoming the first player to do so in 12 years.
After the departure of Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi was handed the number 10 shirt and he signed a new contract in July 2008 on an annual salary of 7.8 million euros, becoming the highest-paid player. His performance in 2008 saw him voted runner up for the Ballon d ’or and FIFA World Player Of The Year Award for the second time behind Cristiano Ronaldo. The 2008/09 season saw him score 38 goals in 51 games. Under the management of Pep Guardiola, Barcelona achieved their first treble in the history of Spanish football after Lionel Messi helped them win the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, and Copa Del Rey title. After the success, he extended his contract with a new buyout clause of 250 million inserted, and his salary increasing to 12 million per year. That same year 2009, Messi helped his team to break another record by achieving the sextuple winning all six top tier trophies in a single year after winning the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. In his ninth season for Barcelona, he wore the captain’s armband for the first time.
At the start of 2015, he formed another attacking trio with Neymar Jr and Luis Suarez popularly known as MSN. On the 11th of January was the first time all the members of the attacking trio scored in a victory over Atletico Madrid. With 58 goals from Messi, the attacking trio scored a total of 122 goals in all competition. At the end of the 2016 campaign, the attacking trio broke a record they set before by scoring a Spanish record of 131 goals throughout the season. Lionel Messi’s buyout clause increased to 700 million euros after a signed a new contract in 2017 till the 2020/21 campaign. In the 2018/19 season, Lionel Messi started to captain Barcelona. After suffering one of his worst defeat as a player in the UEFA Champions League by Bayern Munich, he expressed his desire to leave Barcelona on the 25th of August 2020. The Argentine star later announced that he was going continue to play for Barcelona until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
Lionel Messi earned his first call up for Argentina national team on the 17th of August 2005 at the age of 18. He assumed the post of the captain of Argentina from 2011. Before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, he retired from international football but a week later he reconsidered playing for his country. Argentina progressed from the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup but were defeated by eventual winners France, but Messi set up two goals for his teammates. In 140 appearances for Argentina, he managed to score 71 goals.
Lionel Messi is among the most decorated players of all time. He has won many trophies and personal awards which I will reveal below.
- La Liga (Barcelona): 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019
- Copa Del Rey (Barcelona): 2009, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
- Supercopa de Espana (Barcelona): 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018
- UEFA Champions League (Barcelona): 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015
- UEFA Super Cup (Barcelona): 2009, 2011, 2015
- FIFA Club World Cup (Barcelona): 2009, 2011, 2015
- FIFA U-20 World Cup (Argentina U20): 2005
- Summer Olympics (Argentina Olympic Team): 2008
- Ballon d’or /FIFA Ballon d’or: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 2014
- FIFA World Player Of The Year: 2009
- The Best FIFA Men’s Player: 2019
- European Golden Boot: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019
- Copa America Golden Boot: 2015
- UEFA Men’s Player Of The Year Award: 2011, 2015
- La Liga Best Player: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
- La Liga Best Forward: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
- Pichichi Trophy: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- FIFA Club World Cup Golden Golden Ball: 2009, 2011
- UEFA Club Footballer Of The Year: 2009
- FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball: 2015
- FIFA Club World Cup Final Most Valuable Player: 2009, 2011
- UEFA Club Forward Of The Year: 2009, 2019
- FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball: 2005
- FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Shoe: 2005
- IFFHS Worlds Best Playmaker: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019
- Copa America Best Young Player: 2007
- Argentine Footballer Of The Year: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017
- Golden Boy: 2005
- FIFPro Young World Player Of The Year: 2006, 2007, 2008
- FIFA FIFPro World11: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- UEFA Team Of The Year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- La Liga Team Of The Season: 2015, 2016
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2014
- Copa America Dream Team: 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016
- L’Equipe Champion Of Champions: 2011
- World Soccer Greatest XI Of All Time
Did You Know?
Lionel Messi is……
- The first player to score 91 goals in a single year in the history of European football.
- Barcelona’s all-time highest goal scorer.
- Spanish La Liga all-time highest goal scorer.
- The record holder of the most goals in a single La Liga season having scored 50 goals in the 2011/12 campaign.
- The non-Spanish player with the appearances for Barcelona.
- The player with the most goals for a single club in the UEFA Champions League.
- The third Barcelona player to reach 600 appearances in all competition.
- The first player to score in the most consecutive matches in La Liga, doing so in 21 games.
- The all-time highest goal scorer in El Clasico’s history.
- The only player in history to win six Ballon d ’or awards.
- The first player to score consecutively against all 19 opposition teams in the La Liga.
- The player with the most hat tricks in Spanish football.
- The player with the most assists in La Liga history.
- The youngest player to make 100 appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
- Barcelona’s all-time top scorer from free kicks.
- The only player in history to win six European golden boot awards.
- The only player that has scored against the most team in the Spanish La Liga.
- The second player after Cristiano Ronaldo to score 100 goals in all UEFA competitions. He accomplished it in fewer games.
- The player that holds the record of most league goals scored for a single club in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
- The player with the most hat tricks in the UEFA Champions League.
- The first player to score more than 400 goals in a single league among the top five European leagues.
- The third player in La Liga’s history to score 50 penalties.
- The first player to score in 15 consecutive Champions League seasons.
- The first player to score 20 or more goals in 12 consecutive La Liga seasons.
- The second player after Thierry Henry in the Premier League to score 20+ goals and make 20+ assists.