The Story of Lionel Messi: The Man Who Changed Football Forever

by Nestor Watach
Personal information
Full nameLionel Andrés Messi
Date of birth24 June 1987 (age 36)
Place of birthRosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[1]
Position(s)Forwardattacking midfielder
Team information
Current teamInter Miami
Youth career
1995–2000Newell’s Old Boys
Senior career*
2003–2004Barcelona C10(5)
2004–2005Barcelona B22(6)
2021–2023Paris Saint-Germain58(22)
2023–Inter Miami0(0)
International career
2004–2005Argentina U2018(14)
2008Argentina U235[α](2)

Lionel Messi: The Life and Career of a Football Legend

by richest celebrity

Lionel Messi is a football player from Argentina who has played for FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and the Argentina national team. He has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, six European Golden Shoes, and 34 trophies with Barcelona, including four UEFA Champions League titles. He is also the captain and all-time top scorer of the Argentina national team, with whom he won the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This article will explore Messi’s life and career, from his humble beginnings in Rosario to his global fame and success.

Early life and challenges

Lionel Andrés Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina. He was the third of four children of Jorge Messi, a steel factory manager, and Celia Cuccittini, a part-time cleaner. Messi grew up in a modest and close-knit family, who supported his passion for football from a young age. He started playing football at the age of five, joining a local club called Grandoli, where his father coached him. He later moved to Newell’s Old Boys, one of the biggest clubs in Rosario, where he impressed with his skills and goals.

However, Messi’s football dreams were almost shattered when he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 10. The condition required expensive treatment that his family could not afford. Messi’s parents contacted several clubs in Argentina and abroad, hoping to find one that would pay for his medical bills in exchange for his talent. The only club that agreed to do so was Barcelona, who had scouted Messi through their South American agent.

Barcelona breakthrough and rise to stardom

In 2000, at the age of 13, Messi and his father moved to Barcelona, Spain, leaving behind his mother and siblings. He joined Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, where he adapted to a new culture and language. He also received the hormone injections that helped him grow normally. He made his debut for Barcelona’s senior team in 2004, at the age of 17, becoming the youngest player to score in La Liga history. He soon established himself as an integral player for the club, forming a formidable partnership with Ronaldinho.

Messi’s breakthrough season came in 2008-09, when he helped Barcelona win the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League titles. He scored 38 goals in all competitions, including a stunning solo goal against Real Madrid and a header against Manchester United in the Champions League final. He also won his first Ballon d’Or award, beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernández.

Messi continued to dominate the football world in the following years, breaking records and winning trophies with Barcelona. He became the club’s all-time top scorer in 2012, surpassing César Rodríguez’s mark of 232 goals. He also became the first player to score more than 50 goals in a season in Europe’s top five leagues in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He won three more Ballon d’Or awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012, becoming the first player to win four consecutive times.

Messi also led Barcelona to two more Champions League titles in 2011 and 2015, defeating Manchester United and Juventus respectively in the finals. He scored in both matches, becoming the only player to score in three different Champions League finals. He also won seven more La Liga titles and six more Copa del Rey titles with Barcelona, making him the most decorated player in Spanish football history.

International glory and challenges

Messi made his debut for Argentina’s senior team in 2005, at the age of 18. He scored his first goal for his country against Croatia in a friendly match. He represented Argentina at four FIFA World Cups (2006, 2022), four Copa América tournaments (2007, 2021), and two Olympic Games (2008, 2024). He also participated in the CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions (2022), a special tournament between South America and Europe.

Messi’s international career was marked by both triumphs and disappointments. He won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Argentina’s under-23 team, scoring two goals in the final against Nigeria. He also won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2005 with Argentina’s under-20 team, scoring six goals and winning the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards.

However, Messi also faced criticism for failing to replicate his club form with his national team. He was often compared unfavorably to Diego Maradona , Argentina’s legendary hero who led them to World Cup glory in 1986. Messi lost four major finals with Argentina: the 2007 and 2015 Copa América, the 2014 World Cup, and the 2016 Copa América Centenario. He also suffered injuries and suspensions that affected his performance.

Despite these setbacks, Messi never gave up on his dream of winning a major trophy with Argentina. He finally achieved his goal in 2021, when he led Argentina to their first Copa América title in 28 years, defeating Brazil in the final at the Maracanã Stadium. He scored four goals and provided five assists in the tournament, winning the Golden Ball, Golden Boot, and Best Player awards. He also became Argentina’s all-time top scorer with 79 goals, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 56.

Messi’s greatest achievement came in 2022, when he captained Argentina to their third World Cup title, beating France in the final in Qatar. He scored seven goals and provided six assists in the tournament, winning the Golden Ball, Golden Boot, and Best Player awards. He also became the first player to score in four different World Cups, and the second player to win both the World Cup and the Ballon d’Or in the same year, after Maradona in 1986.

Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Miami

In 2021, Messi shocked the football world by leaving Barcelona after 21 years at the club. He was forced to depart due to Barcelona’s financial difficulties and La Liga’s salary cap rules. He signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), joining his former teammate Neymar and his friend Sergio Agüero . He wore the number 30 shirt, which he had worn at the start of his career at Barcelona.

Messi made his debut for PSG on August 29, 2021, coming on as a substitute against Reims in Ligue 1. He scored his first goal for PSG on September 15, 2021, against Club Brugge in the Champions League group stage. He formed a formidable attacking trio with Neymar and Kylian Mbappé , nicknamed “MNM”. He helped PSG win their eighth Ligue 1 title and their first Champions League title in 2022, scoring a hat-trick in the final against Manchester City.

In January 2023, Messi made another surprising move by joining Inter Miami , a Major League Soccer (MLS) club owned by David Beckham . He signed a three-year contract with Inter Miami, becoming the highest-paid player in MLS history. He wore the number 10 shirt, which he had worn for most of his career at Barcelona and Argentina. He made his debut for Inter Miami on February 26, 2023, scoring a brace against LA Galaxy in the season opener.

Messi quickly adapted to MLS and became one of its biggest stars. He scored 25 goals and provided 18 assists in his first season with Inter Miami, winning the MLS MVP award. He also led Inter Miami to their first MLS Cup title in 2023, scoring a penalty in the final against Seattle Sounders.

Legacy and impact

Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, and one of the most influential figures in football history. He has received praise from players, coaches, pundits, fans, and celebrities for his skills, achievements, personality, and style of play. He has inspired millions of people around the world to play and watch football, and to pursue their dreams.

Messi has also been involved in various humanitarian and charitable causes throughout his career. He is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF , an organization that works for children’s rights and welfare. He has donated money and equipment to schools, hospitals, and foundations in Argentina and other countries. He has also supported campaigns against poverty , racism , violence , and discrimination .

Messi has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to football and society. He has been named among Time ‘s most influential people in the world (2011, 2022), Forbes ’ highest-paid athletes (2019, 2020), ESPN ‘s world fame 100 (2016–2019), GQ ‘s men of the year (2019), Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (2020), FIFA The Best Men’s Player (2019, 2022), among others. He has also been awarded the Order of May , Argentina’s highest civilian honor (2016), the Creu de Sant Jordi , Catalonia’s highest civil distinction (2019), and the Legion of Honour , France’s highest order of merit (2022).

Messi is married to Antonella Roccuzzo , his childhood sweetheart. They have three sons: Thiago (born 2012), Mateo (born 2015), and Ciro (born 2018). Messi is a devout Catholic who often makes the sign of the cross before each match. He has several tattoos on his body, including his sons’ names, his mother.

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