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Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi 20180626.jpg
Messi with Argentina during the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini
Date of birth 24 June 1987 (1987-06-24) (age 34)
Place of birth Rosario, Argentina
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 6+12 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current club Barcelona
Number 10
Youth career
1995–2000 Newell's Old Boys
2000–2003 Barcelona
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 Barcelona C 10 (0)
2004–2005 Barcelona B 22 (1)
2004– Barcelona 410 (374)
National team
2004–2005 Argentina U20 19 (0)
2007–2008 Argentina U23 5 (2)
2005– Argentina 123 (61)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 March 2018.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 30 March 2018

Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi Cuccittini (born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine footballer. He plays for Barcelona and the Argentina national team as a forward. He also has Spanish citizenship, meaning he can play for Spain. Many experts and critics consider Messi as one of the greatest football players of all time. Some even say he is the greatest player ever. Messi has 6 Ballon d'Or awards, the most of any player, and one more than Cristiano Ronaldo. His playing style and skills are very similar to the Argentine legend Diego Maradona. There is much competition between him and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo because of their similar skill levels.

Early Life

Messi trofeo infantil 1992
5-year-old Lionel Messi with Club Abanderado Grandoli of Rosario, where he started to play football

Messi was born and raised in Rosario, Argentina. Messi is the third of four children of Jorge Messi and his wife Celia Cuccittin.

On 24th June 1987, Lionel Messi was born in Rosario, Lionel Messi is the third children of Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini, Lionel Messi’s father Jorge Messi used to work in a steel factory and his mother used to work in a magnet manufacturing workshop.

Growing in a football passionate family, since his young age Lionel Messi developed a passion for football, in his early age Lionel Messi shares the football pitch with his brothers Rodrigo and Matias and with his cousins Maximiliano and Emanuel.

At the age of four, Lionel Messi joined his local club Grandoli, where his father Jorge Messi used to coach him, though the influence of football came from Messi’s maternal grandmother, who always went to training grounds and matches with Lionel Messi.

At the age of eleven, Messi was greatly affected by the death of his grandmother, and after that Lionel Messi generally celebrates his goals by looking up in the sky in tribute of his grandmother.

Lionel Messi always supported the Newell’s Old Boys and at the age of six he joined the club, he played six years with the club and in that tenure, Lionel Messi scored more than 500 goals for the club, and Lionel Messi was also a part of the “Machine of 87”, an undisputed youth side who were named on the basis of their birth year.

The “Machine of 87” used to entertain the crowd by performing some ball tricks during the home games, but at the age of 10, Lionel Messi’s career as a professional player was threatened as at that point of time he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, his father’s insurance only cover for his two years treatment, which approximately cost  $1,000 per month and at the first place Newell’s Old Boys agreed to pay the bills but later they renegade.

The Argentine giant's River Plate scouted him, where his Idol Pablo Aimer used to play, but they were also unable to bear the medical allowances for him due to economic collapse in Argentina.

Lionel Messi has some relatives in Barcelona and they ask him to come over at Catalonia to arrange a trial with the Barcelona team in September 2000, at that point of time Barcelona first team director  Charly  Rexach wanted to bring him in the squad but the board of directors hesitates as at that point of signing a foreign player at a tender age was bit unusual for the European clubs.

On 14th December 2000 the miracle happened and Lionel Messi signed for Barcelona on a piece of napkin paper and Barcelona also promise to pay his medical expenses, In February 2001 Lionel Messi family moved to Barcelona from Argentina, his family moved to an apartment which is near to Camp Nou.

Career

Lionel Messi Player of the Year 2011
Messi about to shoot

FC Barcelona

Messi began football at a young age and his potential was quickly seen by Barcelona. He left Newell's Old Boys' youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe for Barcelona. They moved to Spain because Barcelona offered treatment for his growth hormone deficiency. He started in the 2004–05 season, and he scored his first goal on 1 May 2005 against Albacete from an assist by Ronaldinho. The goal made him a the youngest-ever scorer for the club at that time. Barcelona won La Liga that season for the first time in 6 years, and won the league for a second time in a row along with the Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Champions League in 2006. His first very good season was in the 2006–07 season; he became a first team regular, by scoring a hat-trick in El Clásico. He scored 14 goals in 26 league games. Maybe his most successful season was the 2008–09 season. In this season, Messi scored 38 goals. In the following 2009–10 season, Messi scored 47 goals in all games. That equals to Ronaldo's (Brazilian) record total for Barcelona.

Argentina

Messi decided to play for his homeland, Argentina, in 2005. He led the team to the final game of the 2005 U-20 World Cup against Nigeria, which ended in a 2–1 Argentine victory. Messi scored two penalties as his national team won the U-20 World Cup. In addition to the gold medal, Messi was awarded with the Golden Shoe for most goals scored (6), and Golden Ball for best player. Messi was made captain of the national team in 2011.

Retirement

On 26 June, Argentina once again lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa América Centenario after a 0–0 tie. Messi missed his penalty in the penalty shootout. This was Messi's third consecutive defeat in a major tournament final with Argentina, and his fourth overall. A day after the match, Messi announced his retirement from international football.

He came out of retirement in October 2016 for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

After a slow start to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he helped Argentina qualify to the next round of the competition by scoring the first goal in the 2-1 win over Nigeria.

Club career statistics

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Copa del Rey Champions League Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Barcelona C 2003–04 Tercera División 10 5 10 5
Barcelona B 2003–04 Segunda División B 5 0 5 0
2004–05 17 6 17 6
Total 22 6 22 6
Barcelona 2004–05 La Liga 7 1 1 0 1 0 9 1
2005–06 17 6 2 1 6 1 0 0 25 8
2006–07 26 14 2 2 5 1 3 0 36 17
2007–08 28 10 3 0 9 6 40 16
2008–09 31 23 8 6 12 9 51 38
2009–10 35 34 3 1 11 8 4 4 53 47
2010–11 33 31 7 7 13 12 2 3 55 53
2011–12 37 50 7 3 11 14 5 6 60 73
2012–13 32 46 5 4 11 8 2 2 50 60
2013–14 31 28 6 5 7 8 2 0 46 41
2014–15 38 43 6 5 13 10 57 58
2015–16 33 26 5 5 7 6 4 4 49 41
2016–17 34 37 7 5 9 11 2 1 52 54
2017–18 36 34 6 4 10 6 2 1 54 45
2018–19 34 36 5 3 10 12 1 0 50 51
2019–20 26 21 2 2 6 2 1 1 35 26
Total 478 440 75 53 141 114 28 22 722 629
Career total 510 451 75 53 141 114 28 22 754 640

International career statistics

National Team Year Apps Goals
Argentina 2005 5 0
2006 7 2
2007 14 6
2008 8 2
2009 10 3
2010 10 2
2011 13 4
2012 9 12
2013 7 6
2014 14 8
2015 8 4
2016 11 8
2017 7 4
Total 138 70

Personal life

Relationships

Messi has three children with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo. They are named Thiago Messi, Mateo Messi and Ciro Messi. Thiago was born on 2 November 2012, Mateo was born on 11 September 2015 and Ciro was born on 10 March 2018. On the bottom of Messi's cleats is the name of his first son, Thiago.

Messi and Antonella married in June 2017.

Charity

When not playing on the field, Messi finds time to do charity work. He started the Leo Messi Foundation in 2007 which helps children in at-risk situations. Messi also opened a kids park for children living in a hospital in Barcelona.

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