Lionel Messi is a former professional footballer from Argentina who is regarded as one of the best players in the world’s history. He was the first player to win three European Golden Shoes and the only player in history to win five FIFA Ballons d’Or. He set numerous global records during his playing career, including the most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season (50), a calendar year (91), a single season (73), and a Champions League match (5), among others. He grew up in a football-loving household in central Argentina, where he developed an early interest for the sport and spent his childhood playing football with his siblings. He began playing for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team when he was 13 years old, after joining Newell’s Old Boys’ youth club. Messi made his competitive debut at the age of 17 and rapidly established himself as a key member of the Barcelona team. His first major achievement came in the 2008–09 season, when he assisted Barcelona in achieving the first triple in Spanish football history. He went on to become Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in official competitions and Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer with 55 goals in 112 games during the next several years. Following Argentina’s loss to Chile in the Copa América Centenario final in 2016, he announced his retirement. However, a push to persuade him to change his mind began soon after, and Messi later retracted his choice.
Childhood and Adolescence
Lionel Messi was born in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, parents Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini. He has two older brothers, Rodrigo and Matias, as well as a sister, Maria Sol. His father worked as a manufacturing steel worker, while his mother worked part-time as a cleaner.
Messi began playing for the Grandoli, a local team coached by his father, when he was five years old. He was playing with Newell’s Old Boys by the time he was eight years old. The group was extremely talented, as evidenced by the fact that they only lost one match in the following four years. The gang became known as ‘The Machine of ’87’ due to their tremendous enthusiasm and talent at the game.
Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone shortage when he was eleven years old, which was unfortunate. Despite his remarkable skill, the local clubs refused to aid him because they were unwilling to pay for his treatment.
Carles Rexach, the sporting director of FC Barcelona, stepped in to help him at this point. He pledged to assist Messi by covering his medical expenses if the latter went to Spain. Messi was a member of Barcelona’s youth academy when he was younger.
Career of Lionel Messi
Messi’s professional career began in the year 2000, when he was a member of the youth system. He became the only player to play for five different teams in a short period of time.
Messi’s talent was evident in his rapid progression through the junior system, culminating in his league debut against RCD Espanyol on October 16, 2004. His first goal came against Albacete the next year, on May 1, 2005. He made history by becoming the youngest player to ever score for Barcelona in a La Liga match. In September 2005, Messi was granted Spanish citizenship, allowing him to play in the Championship League for the first time.
Messi’s debut appearance in the Champions League was against Udinese of Italy. Despite the fact that he came on as a replacement, he played fantastic soccer alongside Ronaldinho, the two of them having great synergy when it came to passing and receiving the ball.
Messi scored six goals in his 17 games in the league. However, a muscle injury in his right thigh forced him to retire early from the competition, which Barcelona went on to win as Spanish and European champions.
Messi was no longer a substitute in the 2006-07 season. He was identified as a member of the eleven-man squad. He successfully netted the ball fourteen times in his 26 appearances. He even scored a hat-trick in El Clasico, making him the youngest player to do so in the competition’s history.
Messi’s goal-scoring technique was far too similar to that of Maradona, earning him the moniker ‘Messidona.’ He raced about the same distance as Maradona in the 1986 World Cup match against England, 62 meters (203 feet), beat the same amount of players (six, including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag.
Messi made his 100th appearance for Barcelona against Valencia CF on February 27, 2007. Messi scored six goals and added one assist in the Champions League before being forced to retire due to a muscle rupture. Messi has experienced a similar ailment for the fourth time in three seasons. In total, Messi scored 16 goals and assisted 13 times in all competitions this season.
Messi had a great year in 2009, not only winning his first Copa del Rey but also helping his side win La Liga and then the Champions League. Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the triple in a single season, with three victories. Messi has scored a hat-trick on several occasions. He finished the season with an overall record of 38 goals and 18 assists.
Before the conclusion of the year, Barcelona had won the 2009 Club World Cup against Estudiantes, bringing their total number of titles won in the year to six. Messi scored hat-tricks against CD Tenerife, Valencia CF, and Real Zaragoza in 2010, becoming the first Barcelona player to score back-to-back hat-tricks in La Liga. Messi went on to score four goals in a match against
Arsenal. Messi finished the year with 47 goals and 11 assists across all competitions.
Barcelona faced off against Real Madrid in the 2010 Copa del Rey final. Despite the fact that the reigning champions fell to Real Madrid, Messi was the tournament’s joint-best scorer with Cristiano Ronaldo, with 7 goals.
Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 2-0 in the Champions League Semifinals, with Messi scoring both goals. Messi also scored the game-winning goal in the final, giving Barcelona their third trophy in six years and fourth overall. Messi scored 53 goals and added 24 assists in all competitions during the 2010–11 season.
Messi’s 2011-12 season was a carbon copy of his previous seasons, as he broke record after record to establish himself as Barcelona’s and the world’s best player. With 194 goals in all official competitions, he surpassed Laszlo Kubala as the second-most goalscorer. With 132 goals, he moved into second place on Barcelona’s La Liga goalscorers chart. He surpassed Cesar Rodriguez as Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer in all official competitions.
While Messi had been accustomed to scoring hat-tricks and quadruples, he made history when he scored five goals in a 7-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. He became the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score five goals in a single game. While Barcelona successfully defended their Copa del Rey championship, they were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals by Chelsea and were unable to retain their La Liga crown.
Messi, on the other side, had by far his best year or season to that point, as he became La Liga’s top goalscorer for the second time, with a Liga record of 50 goals. With 16 assists, he was the second-highest assist provider in La Liga that season, trailing only Mesut Ozil (17). With 14 goals, he was named UEFA Champions League Top Scorer for the fourth consecutive season. With 5 assists, he was one of the tournament’s top assist providers, and he concluded the season with 73 goals and 29 assists in all club competitions, more goals and assists than any other player in the game’s history.
Messi’s goal total for the calendar year 2012 was 91, which was the best ever, surpassing Gerd Muller’s 85. Because of Messi’s remarkable performance, Barcelona has extended his contract the ace footballer until 2018.
Messi became the first footballer in history to score in successive La Liga games against every team in the league when he scored for the 19th time in March of 2013.
Messi then played in a match against Paris Saint-Germain and then against Atletico Madrid. However, because of a hamstring issue, he had to abandon both of them halfway through. Messi is expected to miss the remainder of the season as a result of his injury. His career was threatened by his repeated injuries, but he rebounded back in 2014 and had a strong start to the 2014–15 season. He had successfully broken three long-standing records by the end of the year. He became the all-time leading scorer in La Liga after scoring a hat-trick against Sevilla in November.
In the 2015 season, he had a fantastic start. Together with teammates Luis Suárez and Neymar, he scored a total of 122 goals in all competitions that season, setting a new record in Spanish football. Messi was responsible for 58 of the 122 goals.
Messi continued his winning streak in 2016, scoring two goals and assisting on the other two in a 4–1 derby win against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the first leg of the 2015–16 Copa del Rey Round of 16 in January 2016. In a 1–3 away win against Sporting Gijon in February of the same year, he scored his 300th league goal.
On April 17, 2016, in Barcelona’s 2–1 home loss to Valencia, he scored his 500th professional career goal for club and country. He had a total of 41 goals and 23 assists during the 2015-16 season. Following Argentina’s loss to Chile in the Copa América Centenario final on June 26, 2016, he declared his retirement from international football.
After his retirement, a campaign was launched to persuade Messi to reconsider his decision. Messi said on August 12, 2016, that he will not retire and would participate in Argentina’s 2018 World Cup campaign.
Messi scored a goal in Argentina’s last group encounter against Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, helping his team to a 2-1 victory. In the process, he became the first player to score in the World Cup in his teens, twenties, and thirties, as well as the third Argentine to score in three World Cups, behind Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta.
Argentina’s performance at the 2018 World Cup was underwhelming, and they were eliminated in the round of 16 matches against France.
Following the World Cup collapse, there was speculation that Messi would return to international football. He was, nevertheless, a member of the Argentinian team for friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco in March 2019.
On March 22, 2019, Messi made his international comeback in a friendly match against Venezuela in Madrid. Argentina was defeated 3–1 in the match.
Philanthropic Contributions of Lionel Messi
In 2007, Messi founded the Leo Messi Foundation, a nonprofit that supports vulnerable children’s access to education and health care. Messi’s own physical problems as a child prompted him to make this statement. The organization aims to provide funding to children in Spain who have been diagnosed with illnesses in order to cover the costs of transportation, hospitalization, and recovery. Messi raised the majority of the funding for the nonprofit on his own, with a little help from Herbalife.
In 2010, Messi served as UNICEF‘s goodwill ambassador. He advocated for the rights of children.
In 2013, Messi gave €600,000 to help restore the Victor J Vilela Children’s Hospital in his birthplace of Rosario, Argentina. The money was mostly used to restore the hospital’s cancer unit and pay for doctors to travel to Barcelona for training.
Achievements & Awards
Messi’s brilliance on the pitch has been recognized around the world, as seen by the countless accolades, medals, and achievements he has received. Messi has five Ballon d’Or awards to his name. In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015, he was the winner. Messi has received the accolade of “young player of the year” on several times. World Soccer Young Player of the Year, FIFPro World Young Player of the Year, and Copa America Young Player of the Tournament are just a few of the awards.
Messi has won 20 Player of the Year awards, including FIFA World Player of the Year (1), World Soccer Player of the Year (3), Goal.com Player of the Year (2), UEFA Best Player in Europe Award (1), UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (1), FIFA U-20 World Cup Player of the Tournament (1), La Liga Player of the Year (3), La Liga Foreign Player of the Year (3), La Liga Ibero-American Player of the Year (3), FIFA U-20 World Cup Player of the Tournament (1), FIFA U-20 (5).
Messi has been named the top goalscorer on multiple times for his ability to put the ball in the back of the net. The IFFHS World’s Best Top Division Goal Scorer, the IFFHS World’s Top Goal Scorer, the UEFA Champions League Top Goalscorer, the FIFA U-20 World Cup Top Goalscorer and the Copa del Rey Top Goalscorer are just a few of them.
In 2010, 2011, and 2012, Messi was awarded the European Golden Shoe three times. In 2009 and 2011, he won the FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball twice. In the year 2005, he was dubbed the European Golden Boy.
He was a member of the Argentine football national team that won the 2008 Summer Olympics gold medal.
Personal & Family Life
Before settling down with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, Messi had a number of romantic relationships. He was first linked to Macarena Lemos, a Rosario native whom Messi was introduced to by the latter’s father while recovering from an injury prior to the 2006 World Cup. He is even reported to have had a romantic relationship with Luciana Salazar, an Argentine glamour model.
After the Barcelona-Espanyol derby, Messi was first seen with his wife Roccuzzo at a carnival in Sitges. Roccuzzo, a Rosario native, gave birth to their first son, Thiago, on November 2, 2012, and their second son, Mateo, on September 11, 2015. He married Roccuzzo on June 30, 2017, after being in a relationship with her for some years. Their wedding took place at the Hotel City Center in Rosario, which is a high-end hotel.
In 2018, Messi and Roccuzzo gave birth to their third child, a son named Ciro Messi Roccuzz.
Net Worth of Lionel Messi
The best soccer player in the world, Lionel Messi, is an Argentinian-born professional athlete. The valuation of Lionel Messi is $600 million. The majority of Lionel Messi’s fortune came through his work as a winger and striker for FC Barcelona. It was confirmed that Lionel would go from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain on August 10, 2021. Additionally, he competes for Argentina’s national team. In 778 games while playing for Barcelona, Lionel scored 672 goals.
His first contract was written on plain paper, not on stamp or bond paper. Instead, FC Barcelona’s sports director, Carles Rexach, handed him a contract scrawled on a napkin to play for the club! Rexach was so taken aback that he wanted to sign a contract right now.
He was offered a spot on the international level for Spain’s U-20 team, but he declined due to his Argentinian origin and eventually joined Argentina’s U-20 team.
Since making his league debut for Barcelona in 2004, he has set countless records thanks to his skill and comprehensive understanding of the game. In La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, European competitions, and international games, he is now Barcelona’s top scorer. He has also scored the most hat tricks of any Barcelona player.
He holds the Guinness World Record for the most goals scored in a calendar year with 91. He is also the only player in the world to score in 19 consecutive league matches, with a total of 30 goals.
He has a similar playing style to Maradona. During the 2006-07 season, he perfectly imitated Maradona’s goal-scoring manner on two occasions. Over the years, his behaviors have mirrored those of Maradona, who himself declared this gifted footballer to be his successor.
Top 10 Lionel Messi Facts You Didn’t Know
- Lionel Messi is of Italian descent, despite his Spanish citizenship. His paternal family hails from Ancona, in the Marche region of Italy.
- Che Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary, was born in the same city as him, Rosario.
- Despite his celebrity, he retains close ties with the people of his hometown, Rosario. He is also Rosario’s worldwide ambassador.
- Messi’s version of the Hand of God goal is unique. He scored a goal with his hand against Recreativo de Huelva on October 4, 2006.
- Since 2010, ‘SportsPro’ has named him one of the world’s most marketable sportsmen every year.
- He was the first player to earn more than €40 million, making him one of the highest-paid footballers in the world.
- On his left shoulder, he has a tattoo of his mother’s face.
- He is the only player to have won the FIFA Ballon d’Or four times and the European Golden Shoe three times. He was also awarded the Golden Ball twice and the European Golden Boy once.
- Messi holds the record for the most hat-tricks scored in the Champions League (four in total).
- His favorite dish is escalope Milanese, and he is recognized for his obsessive love of food.