Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has set up records for goals scored, winning individual awards on the way to worldwide recognition as the best soccer player in the world. Read on to find out more about this spectacular footballer's biography.
Messi moved from Argentina to Spain at 13 after agents from Barcelona saw his talent. The club paid for his medical treatment as doctors had found that he was suffering from a growth hormone deficiency.
In return, Messi helped the Blaugranas win more than two dozen league titles and tournaments. He is a goal machine who simply scores for fun and over the last few years, he has broken quite a few records in the process.
Messi set a record for most goals in 2012. He was named the first men's footballer to win the Ballon d'Or for the sixth time in 2019.
Messi’s extraordinary dribbling skills and elusive tricks on the ball put him in a class of his own. Besides being a goalscoring machine, he is a playmaker and an electrifying talent at the age of 33.
The little maestro excels at any position he plays. Messi is rightfully the best finisher, creator, passer, and mover. His vision and positional awareness is unrivaled, which gives him the versatility to play practically anywhere on the pitch.
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Messi has often been described as Diego Maradona’s successor because of his prolific goalscoring record and ability to dribble past opponents.
“I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius, and he can become an even better player.”
His potential is limitless, and I think he’s got everything it takes to become Argentina’s greatest player,” Maradona said.
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The Argentine is arguably a keen pass distributor who can readily thread his way through defenses. His short stature (5 feet, 7 inches), combined with his speed and relentless attacking style, has drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona. Read on to find out more about Lionel Messi biography.
Lionel Messi Bio
Lionel Messi Physical Stats
Lionel Messi Football Information
Lionel Messi Date of Birth and Personal Information
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Talking about Lionel Messi bio, it should be mentioned that Leo Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina. He began playing from an early age, and everybody who watched his performance admitted that he had a superb talent. Messi used to tag along when his two older brothers, Matias and Rodrigo, played soccer with their friends.
He was recruited to join the youth system of Newell's Old Boys, a Rosario-based club at the age of 8. Messi was recognizably smaller than most of the kids in his age group and was eventually diagnosed suffering from a hormone deficiency that restricted his growth.
Messi's parents, Jorge and Celia, decided on growth-hormone injections for their son, however, it was impossible to pay several hundred dollars per month for the required medication.
His local club, River Plate were interested in signing him but were reluctant to pay for his medical treatment.
Messi was offered the chance to train at soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona's youth academy, La Masia, at the age of 13. Moreover, the team accepted to pay for his medical bills. Therefore, Messi's parents decided to move across the Atlantic to make a new home in Spain.
Messi was given a trial with Barcelona, and Coach Carles Rexach was impressed by his performance and offered him a contract, which was written on a paper napkin!
Finally, Messi moved to Barcelona with his father and became part of the renowned FC Barcelona youth academy. Although Messi was often homesick in the new club, he moved quickly through the junior system ranks.
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Messi's professional career started in 1995 at Newell's Old Boys, where he played up to 2000. He crossed the Atlantic to try his luck in Barcelona at the age of 13.
Messi made spectacular progress at each age level, climbing through the ranks to Barcelona C, followed by Barcelona B and the first team in a short period of time, which was another record for the little superstar.
Messi began playing from an early age, and his talent was unquestionable. However, the path for the little star was not that smooth as he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
His condition required expensive medical treatment, including the use of the drug Human growth hormone. His local club, River Plate, did not accept to pay for his medical treatment.
Messi was given a chance at Barcelona, and the coach confirmed his inner talent and agreed to recruit him. Messi had to move to Spain at a young age.
“I made a lot of sacrifices by leaving Argentina, leaving my family to start a new life. But everything I did, I did for football, to achieve my dream. That’s why I didn’t go out partying, or do a lot of other things,” Messi said.
“Barcelona is my life. They have brought me to where I am today. I could not leave, I don’t want to leave. I know the Premier League is very good. But I cannot see myself playing in England because my heart is with Barcelona, always.”
Messi is widely regarded as one of the most exciting players of the modern age. He has a peerless ability to dribble and take on opponents.
Messi has been in Spain since he was 11, and he has Spanish nationality. In 2004, he was offered the chance to play for Spain’s Under 20 side, but Messi decided to play for Argentina, the country of his birth. In fact, Lionel Messi nationality is both Argentine and Spanish.
He led Argentina to victory in the 2005 FIFA Youth Championship. Messi made his full international debut in August 2005, during a friendly against Hungary. In his first game, Messi was sent off for allegedly elbowing a player.
The decision was contentious and not in keeping with Messi’s style of play which is generally clean and in the spirit of fair play; he has very rarely been accused of diving.
Messi has said that he wishes to retain the joy of how a child plays football. “I have changed nothing, my style of play is still that of a child. I know that above all it is my job and that I should approach it in another way, but one must not lose sight of the fact that football is a game. It is imperative one plays to amuse oneself, to be happy. That is what children do and I do the same thing,” Messi said.
Maradona has described Messi’s ball control as heavenly good, “The ball stays glued to his foot; I’ve seen great players in my career, but I’ve never seen anyone with Messi’s ball control.”
Messi established himself among the world's best players at age 20. Diego Maradona considered the 18-year-old Messi the best player in the world alongside Ronaldinho.
The Brazilian himself, shortly after winning the Ballon d'Or, commented, "I'm not even the best at Barça", in reference to his protégé. Four years later, after Messi had won his first Ballon d'Or by a record margin, the public debate regarding his qualities as a player moved beyond his status in contemporary football to the possibility that he was one of the greatest players in history.
An early proponent was his then-manager Pep Guardiola, who, as early as August 2009, declared Messi to be the best player he had ever seen.
In the following years, this opinion gained greater acceptance among pundits, managers, former and current players, and by the end of Barça's second treble-winning season, Messi's superiority, ahead of Maradona and Pelé, had become the apparent view among many fans and pundits in Europe.
A frequent dismissal, however, has centered on the fact that Messi has not won the FIFA World Cup or any other major trophy with Argentina, leading the majority to cite him as arguably the best club player in history.
Messi is often compared and contrasted with Cristiano Ronaldo and many consider it as the biggest conundrum in football since the ‘Diego Maradona or Pele’ comparison.
Although both have quite similar records, Ronaldo's seasonal totals have recently declined to some extent while Messi's have remained consistent.
The GOAT has deployed an array of celebrations over the years, but one specific gesture has been recognized as his goalscoring signature. After scoring, he often points a finger on each hand towards the sky as he makes his way back to the center-circle.
Celia Olivera Cuccittini is the person to whom each and every one of those goals is dedicated: Messi's grandmother, who passed away in 1998.
She encouraged Leo to play, took him to matches, and thus played a huge role in shaping the path of the greatest footballer of all time.
The Argentine magician turned in one of his greatest ever El Clasico performances in 2017 as Barca scored a priceless 3-2 victory over Real Madrid. It was a win that blew the La Liga title race wide open that season and victory was earned in the sweetest possible way for the Blaugrana.
Messi scored all three points with a dramatic late winner and proceeded to deliver one of the most iconic goal celebrations ever seen on a football pitch.
With Madridistas around the stadium in disbelief, Messi proceeded to take off his shirt and hold it in front of the Barca fans.
However, Messi isn't always happy at finding the back of the net as there are times when, for some unknown reasons, he just walks back to the center-circle after scoring.
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Almost universally regarded as the best soccer player in the game, Messi has additionally become the commercial face of soccer with endorsements from Adidas, Pepsi, EA Sports and Turkish Airways, among other companies.
Anheuser-Busch InBev announced a Budweiser partnership with Lionel Messi days after the Barcelona superstar stated that he would stay at the club and ended transfer speculation.
Messi recently broke a long standing record that had previously belonged to Pele since 1974, by scoring against Valladolid.
It was Messi's 644th goal for Barcelona, taking him above Brazilian legend Pele's 643 strikes for Santos as the most scored for a single club.
Budweiser sent each goalkeeper who'd conceded one of those 644 goals a bottle of beer, and a bottle for each goal meaning that some goalkeepers were having a very merry Christmas, with Diego Alves holding the record with 21 beers!
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In this part of Lionel Messi biography, his personal life is discussed. Messi was born to Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini in Rosario, Santa Fe Province. He has three siblings, two elder brothers Rodrigo and Matias, and a sister, Maria Sol. His father was a factory steelworker and his mother was employed as a part-time cleaner. Lionel Messi religion is Roman Catholic.
On June 30, 2017, Messi married Antonella Roccuzzo, his longtime girlfriend and the cousin of his best friend and fellow soccer player, Lucas Scaglia.
Lionel Messi childhood was so interesting as he met his wife when he was only five years old and in 2017, he married his childhood friend, Antonella in what was called the “wedding of the century.”
The two have known each other for their entire lives, meeting in Argentina. Messi and Roccuzzo had two sons together, Thiago and Mateo before they got engaged.
Messi’s lavish wedding had over 260 guests at a luxury hotel. Many of the attendees were professional soccer players and other celebrities; Neymar, Luis Suarez, Cesc Fabregas, Javier Mascherano, and Carles Puyol, Pique, and Shakira were among the guests at this elegant, star-studded wedding.
Messi and Roccuzzo have three children together: Thiago, born in November 2012, Mateo, born in September 2015 and Ciro, born in March 2018.
It has been reported that Messi briefly dated a young model named Macarena Lemos when he was 18 and the model was 14. The ex-girlfriend of Barcelona star claimed that the player's mother came after her in a Rosario shopping center armed with a frying pan.
Despite the incident, Macarena has claimed that she would still like to spend a night with the world's best footballer.
While Messi was traveling to Barcelona, Antonella dated another man. The couple had some time off when Messi was away in Spain, and the unknown man tried stealing Roccuzzo’s heart.
When Antonella found out about Messi's return to Argentina, she quickly dumped her ex-boyfriend to go back to her true match. However, her ex-boyfriend forgave her as she had dumped her for Messi!
This part of Lionel Messi biography is about his philanthropic activities. Although Lionel Messi life story has been kept out of the spotlight, he has quietly helped others in need. In 2007, he formed the Leo Messi Foundation to provide opportunities for disadvantaged youths.
In early 2010, UNICEF named him a goodwill ambassador, with a focus on fighting for children's rights across the globe.
In February 2019, Messi’s foundation donated €200,000 (£175,000/$218,000) to UNICEF projects in Kenya that allowed over 2,000 citizens access to free food and water.
Moreover, his organization joined forces with the Josep Carreras Leukemia Foundation to help in the work towards improving leukemia treatment.
During the coronavirus crisis of 2020, Messi made a reported donation of €1 million to be split between Hospital Clinic in Catalunya and another health center in Argentina.
A quite impressive Philanthropic activity was done when a young Afghan boy, Murtaza Ahmady, was pictured wearing a Lionel Messi shirt which he'd made himself out of a bin bag.
Messi heard about it and arranged through UNICEF for a signed shirt to be sent to him. Later, Murtaza got the chance to meet his hero, Messi, when he was picked to be a mascot in a friendly game between Barcelona and Al-Ahli in Qatar.
In July 2016, Lionel Messi and his father, who managed his financial affairs, had some drama with tax law.
They were found guilty of resorting to fictitious companies to evade Spanish taxes on income from companies using Lionel Messi's image rights.
During a four-day trial, both denied breaking the law and claimed they were unaware of any tax laws that governed Spain.
However, they were both sentenced to 21 months in prison. Under Spanish law, first offenses under two years are suspended so they did not go to jail. So, they were pardoned in court.
On 6 July 2016, Messi and his father were both found guilty of tax evasion and were given suspended 21-month prison sentences and fines equivalent to €1.7 million and €1.4 million, respectively.
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In this part of Lionel Messi biography, his career statistics are discussed. Messi has played his entire professional career for FC Barcelona, where he first signed at age 13. Some people believe that Messi could have played for any club. However, it was Barcelona that decided to spent time and money on someone with serious health issues.
There is an old saying, “Gold is not picked refined; it has to go through a process.” Messi went through the process and compensated time and money the club had spent. He has won many laurels and trophies for the club over the years, starring in La Liga for over 15 years.
Messi made his first appearance for the FC Barcelona, placing himself in the record books on May 1, 2005, as the youngest player to ever score a goal for the club. He led Argentina to the title in the under-20 World Cup, scoring on a pair of penalty kicks against Nigeria.
Messi helped Barcelona to be among the treble winners in football history, most strikingly in 2009, when the Catalan giants won the Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Super Cup titles.
In 2019, after two consecutive runner-up finishes, Messi took home his first FIFA "World Player of the Year" honor/Ballon d'Or award.
Amazingly, Messi kept on improving, discovering new ways to escape defenders while leading Barcelona to La Liga and Spanish Super Cup championships in 2010 and 2011, as well as the 11 Champions League title.
Messi was the first footballer to score five goals in a Champions League match in 2012, and later, he surpassed Cesar Rodriguez’s club-record 232 goals to become Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer.
Messi had aggregated an astounding 91 goals in club and international play, overshadowing the 85 netted in a single calendar year by Gerd Muller in 1972. He broke another record when he was named the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner for the fourth time in January 2013.
The soccer superstar suffered from hamstring injuries, but he regained his record-breaking form by becoming the all-time leading scorer in La Liga and Champions League play in late 2014.
After helping Barcelona accomplish a notable second treble in 2015, Messi was honored with his fifth FIFA Ballon d'Or trophy.
Four years later, following another La Liga title, Messi again settled a new standard for excellence by claiming his sixth Ballon d'Or in 2019. The Argentina forward scored 46 times for club and country in 2019.
In 2017, Messi signed a new contract with FC Barcelona through the 2020-21 season, when he'll be 34 years old. According to Forbes, he received a $59.6 million signing bonus. He earns $667,000 per week, for over $80 million annually. Messi's buyout clause was set at $835 million (€700 million).
In 2006, Messi participated in the World Cup, becoming Argentina’s youngest player to play in the world cup. However, Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
In 2008, Messi won an Olympic gold medal for Argentina at the Beijing Olympics. Barcelona did not want him to play, but the new coach, Pep Guardiola, allowed him to do so.
In the 2010 World Cup, Messi attempted to help Argentina reach the quarter-finals. Messi was highly motivated to score but Argentina disappointingly lost 4-0 to Germany in the quarter-final.
Messi has admitted that he is desperate to play in a world cup final. Winning in the World Cup would be the last test of greatness for the maestro.
Despite continuous praise at the club level, Messi has been roughly criticized for his inability to help Argentina's national team win a major title. He helped his team to the final of the 2014 World Cup and was named player of the tournament, although his team lost to Germany.
In 2016, following Argentina's second consecutive loss to Chile in the final of the Copa America tournament, Messi announced that he was ending his run with the national team.
The soccer great eventually changed his mind, but his participation in the 2018 World Cup did not bring that title, as was expected. Messi scored an early goal in a 2-1 win over Nigeria that helped his team advance from the group stage, but his two assists were not enough to fight off a 4-3 defeat that eliminated Argentina.
In 2019, after Messi heavily criticized the referees in the wake of a 2-0 loss to Brazil in the Copa America semifinals, he was banned from international football for three months after accusing CONMEBOL of corruption.
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The last part of Lionel Messi biography includes his honors and awards. Messi has helped his club win a lot of trophies by scoring numerous goals during his career. He is legitimately the unrivaled player in the world of football.
Nobody can maintain his level for a decade and a half. Despite the fact that he has endeavored to accomplish what he has now, his success has a lot to do with his exceptional talent.
Messi has had 749 appearances and scored 644 goals for the Catalan giants. He has helped his club win 10 La Liga and 4 Champions Leagues. Individually, he has won the Ballon d’Or award and the European Golden Boot 6 times each, the most for any football player.
In addition, he became the FIFA World Player of the Year and got for himself one best FIFA Men’s Player award. Messi has 14 individual trophies in total. There is no surprise that he is the greatest soccer player of all time.