Lionel Andrés Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine professional football player who plays forward for Ligue 1 team Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team. He was born on June 24, 1987. Messi, who is recognized as one of the all-time best players, has a record of seven Ballon d’Or awards, a record six European Golden Shoes, and in 2020, he was selected for the Ballon d’Or Dream Team.
He spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he amassed a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga crowns, seven Copa del Rey titles, and four UEFA Champions Leagues, until departing the organization in 2021. With his country, he won the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Santa Fe. He is the third of four children and the husband of steel plant manager Jorge Messi and magnet factory worker Celia Cuccittini. He is the great-grandson of immigrants from Italy’s north-central Adriatic Marche area on his father’s side, and on his mother’s side, he is predominantly of Italian lineage.
Messi, who grew up in a tight-knit football-loving family, became passionate about the game at a young age while playing with his older brothers Rodrigo and Matías, as well as his cousins Maximiliano and Emanuel Biancucchi, who both went on to play professionally.
At the age of four, he joined the local team Grandoli, where his father served as his coach. However, his maternal grandmother Celia, who accompanied him to practice and games, had the earliest impact on his development as a player.
His grandmother’s passing, which occurred just before his eleventh birthday, had a significant impact on him. Ever since then, as a devoted Roman Catholic, he has celebrated his accomplishments by pointing to the sky in memory of his grandmother.
When Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at age 10, it put his career as a professional athlete in jeopardy. The Newell’s agreed to contribute because his father’s health insurance would only pay for growth hormone therapy for two years, which would have cost at least $1,000 a month. However, they eventually broke their word.
The Messi family attempted to set up a trial with Barcelona in September 2000 since they had relatives living in Catalonia. The board of directors hesitated; at the time, it was quite unusual for European clubs to sign foreign players at such a young age. First team director Charly Rexach was immediately interested in signing him.
Barcelona was given until December 14 to demonstrate their dedication, and Rexach offered a contract on a paper napkin because he was out of paper. The family went to Barcelona in February 2001, where they settled into an apartment close to the team’s stadium, Camp Nou. Due to a transfer disagreement with Newell’s, Messi had little action with the Infantiles during his first season in Spain; as a foreign player, he was only allowed to play in friendlies and the Catalan league.
Without football, he found it difficult to fit in; already reserved by nature, he was so silent at first that his teammates thought he was deaf. After his mother moved back to Rosario with his brothers and little sister, María Sol, while he stayed in Barcelona with his father, he experienced longing at home.
In February 2002, Messi eventually signed up for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after spending a year at Barcelona’s youth facility, La Masia. He now participated in all competitions and grew close to his teammates.
Messi joined the “Baby Dream Team,” Barcelona’s greatest-ever young team, when he finished his growth hormone therapy at the age of 14. In his first full season (2002–03), the Cadetes A accomplished an unprecedented treble by winning the league, the Spanish Cup, and the Catalan Cup, and he led the team in scoring with 36 goals in 30 games.
The Copa Catalunya championship game, which Barcelona won 4-1 over Espanyol, earned the nickname “partido de la máscara,” or “mask final,” in club legend. A week after breaking his cheekbone during a league game, Messi was permitted to start the game under the condition that he wear a plastic protector; nevertheless, after finding the mask to be a hindrance, he removed it and went on to score two goals in 10 minutes before being replaced.
His first offer from a foreign team came to him at the end of the season to join Arsenal, but he decided to stay at Barcelona.
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Messi’s Brief Career.
Messi, who was 17 during the 2004–05 season, set a record for being the youngest player and goal scorer in La Liga, Spain’s top football league. He was strong, balanced, and adaptable on the field despite being only 5 feet 7 inches (1.7 meters) tall and weighing 148 pounds (67 kg). With his left foot, his quickness, and his ability to control the ball precisely, Messi was a natural passer who could easily weave through densely defended areas.
He acquired Spanish citizenship in 2005, which was received with mixed emotions by Barcelona’s fervently Catalan fans. The Champions League (the European club tournament) was won by Messi and Barcelona the following year.
Over the years, Messi’s game continued to advance quickly, and by 2008, he was one of the most dominant players in the world, coming in second place to Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the voting for the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year award.
With the club’s first “treble”—winning three major European club championships in a single season—Messi closed off an outstanding 2008–09 campaign by assisting FC Barcelona in winning the Champions League, La Liga, and the Copa del Rey. In 51 games that season, he scored 38 goals. He defeated Ronaldo by a record margin in the voting for FIFA World Player of the Year.
Messi scored 34 goals in domestic matches for Barcelona in 2009–10, helping them win La Liga once more. As the top scorer in Europe, he received the Golden Shoe award, and in 2010 he was voted the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner as the world player of the year.
The following year, Messi helped Barcelona win the Champions League and La Liga, which helped him win an unprecedented third straight world player of the year award. At the age of 24 in March 2012, he scored his 233rd goal for Barcelona, making him the team’s all-time greatest scorer in La Liga games.
He broke Gerd Müller’s 39-year-old record for the most goals scored in a single season in a major European football league by scoring 73 goals for Barcelona in the 2011–12 campaign (which included another Copa del Rey victory). Messi became the first player to receive the honor four times after his historic season, which earned him the 2012 world player of the year award.
In 2012–13, he led the league with 46 La Liga goals, and Barcelona won another title in the top domestic competition. When he scored his 370th goal for the team in 2014, he broke the club’s all-time goal record. In the same year, he also shattered the scoring records for both the Champions League (with 72 goals) and La Liga (with 253 goals).
Messi led Barcelona in scoring during the 2014–15 season with 43 goals, earning him his sixth world player of the year award. Messi also assisted Barcelona in winning another treble.
In 2015–16, he scored 41 goals for Barcelona across all leagues as the team won the La Liga championship and the Copa del Rey.
With 53 goals for Barcelona in 2016–17, Messi set a new record and helped the team win the Copa del Rey.
His 45 goals helped Barcelona win the La Liga and Copa del Rey double in 2017–18.
Messi led Barcelona to a second La Liga title in 2018–19 with 51 goals across all domestic tournaments. He earned his sixth Ballon d’Or of his career in December 2019.
Barcelona won the Copa del Rey in the 2020–21 season, making it Messi’s sixth career triumph. When he became a free agent in 2021, financial difficulties that were partly brought on by La Liga regulations made it difficult for him to re-sign with Barcelona. He left the team having accomplished a lot of feats, most notably being the league’s all-time leading goal scorer (474).
He signed with Paris St.-Germain later in 2021. Messi selected the number 30 for his team, the same number he wore for Barcelona when he made his senior debut as a teenager.
On August 29, Messi made his professional debut for the team by substituting in the second half of a 2-0 Ligue 1 victory away at Reims. On September 15, in the team’s away tie against Club Brugge that ended in a score of 1-1, he got his first start and Champions League debut.
After losing to Real Madrid in the round of 16 of the Champions League on March 13, Messi and his teammate Neymar were booed by some PSG supporters at the Parc des Princes during the league game against Bordeaux.
“To judge Messi in this way is unfair,” then-PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino said in defense of the player, adding that “it was a year of learning, and not just on a professional level coming to Paris Saint-Germain, in a new league and with new teammates, but also on a family level.”
In all competitions, Messi ended his debut season with 11 goals and 14 assists. He finished the season with six league goals, failing to reach double figure for the first time since 2005–06.
Messi returned to his favored free attacking position after settling in Paris under new coach Christophe Galtier. He was used as the playmaker behind two forwards in an attacking trident alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, and he immediately regained his form from the previous season.
Messi was not nominated for the Ballon d’Or award for the first time since 2005 because of his performance from last season.
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Messi’s links to his native Argentina remained strong despite his dual citizenship and professional success in Spain, and he played an important role in a number of Argentine national teams beginning in 2005.
He was a member of Argentina’s winning 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship team, competed for his nation in the 2006 World Cup, and scored twice in five games as Argentina swept to the Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008.
Messi aided Argentina in its run to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup, where it was defeated by Germany for the second time in a row.
Messi put on a spectacular performance at the 2014 World Cup, scoring four goals and nearly single-handedly advancing an offensively challenged Argentina team past the group stage and into the knockout stages, where they later made it to the World Cup final for the first time in 24 years. Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in that match, but Messi was still named the tournament’s best player and received the Golden Ball trophy.
He scored his 55th goal for his country while competing in the 2016 Copa América Centenario, breaking Gabriel Batistuta’s previous scoring mark for Argentina. Messi stated that he was leaving the national team after Argentina lost in the Copa final, the country’s third straight finals failure in a major competition. However, Messi’s brief “retirement” lasted less than two months before he made an announcement about his return to the Argentine team.
He aided an outclassed Argentine team in the 2018 World Cup to the knockout round, where they lost to eventual champion France in their opening game. Messi led Argentina to triumph in the competition two years after they placed third at the 2019 Copa América, and he was given the Golden Ball trophy. Finally, in the 2022 World Cup, Messi had managed to win the champion title with Argentina and finished his enormous award collection.
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