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Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona

Sun 15 August 2021 | 6:00

As the Argentinian captain left Barca for PSG, we are going to take a look at Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona.

Lionel Andres Messi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. He is of Italian and Spanish descent on his father’s side and has Italian ancestry from his mother’s side. In fact, he is the great-grandson of the immigrants who were from the north-central Adriatic Marche region of Italy and Catalonia.

The former

Barcelona

striker grew up in a football-loving family and therefore, developed a passion for football and showed his talent from an early age. Messi used to play football with his older brothers, Rodrigo and Matías and his cousins, Maximiliano and Emanuel Biancucchi. The Bianucchi brothers became footballers as well as their cousin.

Lionel Messi

joined Grandoli when he was 4 in 1992, the club which was coached by his father. After 3 years, little Messi left the club to join Newell's Old Boys, where he scored almost 500 goals during his 6-year performance.

“When you saw him, you would think: this kid can't play ball. He’s a dwarf, he’s too fragile, too small. But immediately you’d realize that he was born different, that he was a phenomenon and that he was going to be something impressive.” Said the Newell's Old Boys youth coach Adrián Coria about the 12-year old Messi.  

The inspiration for becoming a professional player came from Leo’s grandmother Celia, who accompanied him to training and matches. A short time before the 11th birthday of the current Argentine captain, her death affected him greatly and since then, he has celebrated his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky to respect his grandmother.  

From joining to leaving Barca

In this article, we are going over the journey of

Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona

. Stay with us.

Joining FC Barcelona

When Leo was 10, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Because his father’s health insurance covered only 2 years of the treatment, Newell’s agreed to contribute. However, they didn’t fulfill what they had promised. As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they tried to contact Barcelona.

The Catalans wanted to make a deal with him immediately, but at the time it was unusual for a European team to sign foreign players of such a young age. Later, an ultimatum was issued for the club to prove their commitment and they offered a contract on a paper napkin as there was no other paper. Due to the conflict in this transfer, Leo could only play in friendlies and the Catalan league.   

After a year at La Masia, Messi was enrolled in the Royal Spanish Football Federation in February 2002. He could finally play in all competitions for the Catalans.  Continuing with

Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona

, we are now going over his time in Barcelona youth teams and how he headed for the senior team. Stay tuned.

Promoting to the senior team

After Leo finished his growth hormone treatment at the age of 14, he became a part of the “Baby Dream Team”. During the 2002-03 season which was his first full season in the club, he became the top scorer with 36 goals in 30 games.

The promotion of Lionel Messi began in 2003-04, as he was named player of the tournament in 4 international pre-season competitions with the Juveniles B. He played only 1 official match for this team and made it to Juveniles A, where he scored 18 goals in 11 league games.  Lionel Messi was then one of the players who got a call up to strengthen the depleted first team during the international break.

“He destroyed us all. They were kicking him all over the place to avoid being ridiculed by this kid, he just got up and kept on playing. He would dribble past 4 players and score a goal. Even the team’s starting center-backs were nervous. He was an alien.” Said the French winger Ludovic Giuly. 

Going over the journey of Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona, it is seen that he made his first team debut against

Porto

in a friendly match at the age of 16, when he came on in the 75th minute on 16 November 2003. He created 2 chances and 1 shot on target, so he had a good impact on the technical staff.

Afterward, Leo began training daily with

Barcelona B

and weekly with the senior team.

Ronaldinho

was highly impressed by Messi and they befriended. The Brazilian star of the Catalans called the Argentinian young player “little brother” and it eased Leo’s transition into the first team.

Lionel Messi was a guaranteed player of the B team. Since his debut the previous year, he hadn’t got a call up for the senior team. In October 2004, the players of the first team talked to the manager, Frank Rijkaard and convinced him to promote Leo. Messi made his league debut during Barca’s match against

Espanyol

on 16 October 2004. At the age of 17, he was the youngest footballer to play for Barcelona at that time.

During the 2004-05 season, Leo played 77 minutes in 9 matches for the first team, including his debut in the UEFA Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk. This Argentinian striker scored his first goal for the Catalans against

Albacete

, from an assist by Ronaldinho. He became the youngest ever scorer of the club.  

In the senior team

Looking at Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona, it’s time to take a look at his brilliant era in the first team until Messi leaving Barca in 2021. The Argentinian legend signed his first contract as a senior team player On 24 June 2005, his 18th birthday.

Beginning to succeed in the first team

After Ronaldinho lost form, Messi became Barca’s new star player when he was only 20 and received the nickname “Messiah” from the Spanish media.

 With 10 goals and 12 assists in 28 appearances in

LaLiga

and 6 goals and 1 assist in

Champions League

in 9 appearances, journalists voted him the 3rd best player of the year for the 2007 Ballon d'Or, while Kaka won and

Cristiano Ronaldo

became the runner-up. In the same year, international managers and national team captains voted him second for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, again behind Kaka.

Becoming a key player

Going over the story of

Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona

, it is seen that in the 2008-09 season, as the club required an overhaul, Rijkaard and Ronaldinho left Barca. During the first season under

Pep Guardiola

, Messi continued playing as a right-wing.

In the El Clasico which took place on 2 May 2009, Leo played as a false 9 for the first time. He assisted his side’s first goal and scored 2 goals for FC Barcelona in their 6-2 victory over

Real Madrid

in Santiago Bernabeu.

Messi also scored and assisted a goal in the final of the

Copa del Rey

in the same season, which led to defeating Athletic Bilbao and winning the cup. With Leo scoring 23 league goals, the Catalans became the champion of LaLiga just 3 days later and achieved their 5th double.

During the Champions League in the same season, this Argentinian striker became the youngest top scorer with 9 goals. He played as a false 9 in the final against

Manchester United

and scored the 2nd goal of his side winning 2-0. Barcelona thus achieved the first treble in the history of Spanish football.     

Lionel Messi’s performances led him to be voted runner-up for the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award as Cristiano Ronaldo won both.

First Ballon d’Or

The prosperity of Barcelona kept on as they became the first club to achieve the sextuple. After achieving the treble, the Catalans won the Supercopa de España and UEFA Super Cup. They finished the most successful season of their history by defeating Estudiantes de La Plata with Messi scoring the winning goal, which led to winning the FIFA Club World Cup title.

At the age of 22, Lionel Messi won his first Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award in the 2009-2010 season.

As

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

joined Barca, Messi continued playing as a false 9. Later, Leo became the tactical focal point of Guardiola’s team. In the 2nd leg of the Champions League quarter-final, he created memorable moments for Barca fans by scoring all the 4 goals for his side as they beat Arsenal with a 4-1 victory. In this match, the Argentinian legend became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in UEFA Champions League. 

“Messi is the best player in the world by some distance. He’s like a PlayStation. He can take advantage of every mistake we make.” Said Arsène Wenger after Messi scored for goals to his team,

Arsenal

.

Though Barcelona were knocked out by Inter Milan, Leo became the top scorer of the Champions League with 8 goals. He also scored the most goals of LaLiga with 34 goals.

A record-breaking year 

Taking a look at Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona, it is understood that 2012 was a record breaking year for him. In the Champions League last 16-round match against

Bayer Leverkusen

, the Argentinian striker scored 5 goals which led to an unprecedented achievement for him in the history of the competition.

Leo became the top scorer of the Champions League with 14 goals, as well as becoming the top assist provider with 5 assists. Therefore he tied José Altafini’s record from the 1962-63 season. Messi also became the 2nd player to be the top scorer in 4 campaigns after

Gerd Muller

 On 20 March 2012, Lionel Messi overtook the 57-year record of César Rodríguez’s 232 goals with a hat-trick against Granada and became the top scorer in Barcelona’s history when he was 24. Later, Messi became the top goal scorer of LaLiga with 50 goals, which was a record. His 73 goals in all competitions surpassed Gerd Müller’s 67 goals in the 1972-73 Bundesliga season, which made him the single-season top scorer in the history of European club football.

“I feel sorry for those who want to compete for Messi’s throne – it’s impossible, this kid is unique.” Said Guardiola after Messi became Barca’s all-time top scorer.  

After overtaking Gerd Muller’s record of most goals scored in a calendar year, Lionel Messi sent the German Legend a number 10 Barcelona shirt, signed “with respect and admiration”.

As seen in the story of Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona, 2012 was a record-breaking year for this Argentinian star. 

Second treble with Barcelona     

Seeking the journey of Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona, we are now taking a look at his successful season in 2014-15.

On November 22, Leo became the all-time top scorer in LaLiga with a hat-trick against

Sevilla

, overtaking the 59-year record of 251 league goals which was held by Telmo Zarra. He also broke the record of César Rodríguez and became the top scorer of the Derbi Barceloní with 12 goals. Messi became the top assist provider with 18 assists, which made him surpass Luís Figo.

A few days after winning the LaLiga title, Barcelona became the champion of the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 victory over

Athletic Bilbao

. 2 goals of which were scored by Lionel Messi.

As seen in the journey of Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona, he scored 2 goals and assisted 1 in the semi-final of the Champions League against

Bayern Munich

. His second goal, which was scored 3 minutes after his first, saw him chip the ball over Manuel Neuer after his dribble past Jérôme Boateng had made him drop to the ground. Later, it was named the best goal of the season.

In the final of the UCL, the Catalans became the champions of Europe as they defeated Juventus 3-1 to fulfill their 2nd treble. Although Messi did not score, he participated in all of his side’s goals.

Now it’s time to go over the story behind

Messi leaving Barca

.

Lionel Messi left FC Barcelona

The "Messi leaving Barca process" began due to the growing dissatisfaction between him and the direction in August 2020, when the club confirmed that he had sent a document expressing his desire to leave. On the next day, Barcelona’s sporting director, Ramon Planes, showed the club’s desire to build a team around the most important player in the world. He also said that Messi could leave only if a buyer paid €700 million buyout clause.

There was an option in the contract that would allow

Lionel Messi to leave FC Barcelona

for free, whereas he should have communicated his decision to the club by 31 May 2020. Although Leo’s representatives argued that the deadline had to be set to 31 August, due to the adjourned 2019-20 season, LaLiga stated that Messi’s contract and buyout clause were still active.

“I wasn’t happy and I wanted to leave. I have not been allowed this in any way and I will stay at the club so as not to get into a legal dispute. The management of the club led by Bartomeu is a disaster. My love for Barca will never change.” Said Messi in an interview with Goal on 4 September 2020. 

The 2020-21 season was the last season of Leo in Catalonia and on 5 August 2021, Barcelona announced that Messi would not be staying at the club, however both sides had reached an agreement and wanted to sign a contract. The reason that led Lionel Messi to leave FC Barcelona was the LaLiga regulations. Club president Joan Laporta blamed the previous board for Leo’s departure.

“Leo wanted to stay and the club wanted him to stay but with the LaLiga rules, it has not been possible. To comply with the league’s fair play regulations we had to accept an agreement that mortgaged the Club’s TV right for half a century and FC Barcelona is above everything else.” Said Joan Laporta.

Finally, the Argentinian legend left Barca with loads of honors, including 6 Ballon d’Ors. He signed a 2-year contract with

Paris Saint-Germain

on 10 August 2021.

This was the journey of Lionel Messi, from the beginning to the end in Barcelona. Do you have any special memories with this outstanding footballer? Share them with us in the comments section.       

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