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Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi Leo Messi Lio Messi

Football Player (1987-)

Lionel Messi has been considered by some distance not only the best active football player in the world but also one of the greatest of all time, alongside legends such as Maradona and Pelé. In addition to being awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or prize a record five times, Leo has become the all-time top goalscorer for both Argentina’s national team and FC Barcelona, the mega club he has helped to win more than 30 titles. While Messi is a household name across most of the globe, the superstar forward also surprises with his relatively low profile off the field.


Lionel Messi Biography

«I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else. I’m more concerned about being a good person than being the best footballer in the world. Besides, in the end, when all this is over, what can you take with you? My hope is that, when I retire, I’m remembered for being a good guy.»  (Extract from interview with Spanish newspaper “El País” in 2012)

Lionel Andrés Messi (aka Leo, Lio, La Pulga [The Flea], La Pulga Atómica [The Atomic Flea], El Messías) was born on June 24, 1987 in the Argentine city of Rosario. He was raised with three siblings in a working-class neighbourhood known as Barrio General Las Heras. At the age of 5, he started playing for the Grandoli, a small local club in which his family was actively involved. By the time Leo turned 8, he was already playing for the youth academy of Newell’s Old Boys, a major professional squad based in Rosario.

Recognizably smaller than most of the kids in his age group, Lionel Messi was eventually diagnosed as suffering from a growth hormone deficiency. His father unsuccessfully turned to several Argentine football clubs seeking financial aid for an expensive treatment, which almost jeopardized the promising career he envisaged for Leo.

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2005 Lionel Messi Barca 2005In 2000, at age 13, Lionel Messi signed with Fútbol Club Barcelona and moved with his family to Spain, as the Catalan club agreed to pay for his hormone treatments as part of the contract. After a quick progression through Barcelona’s youth academy ‘La Masia’, Leo made his debut in the 2004–05 season, at age 17. Barça won the Spanish championship La Liga that season, and in the following it won a double of La Liga and UEFA’s Champions League. Messi’s first big success came in the 2008–09 season, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football, including Copa del Rey, La Liga and the Champions League.

Over the following years, Lionel Messi continued to break record after record to emerge as the top class player for Barcelona and the world at large. Messi’s personal best campaign statistically to date was the 2011–12 season, in which he set the Spanish and European records for most goals scored in a single season, while establishing himself as Barça’s all-time top scorer in official competitions. Following each appearance, the Argentine left-footed star proved to be versatile enough to play anywhere across the frontline and to mesmerize defenders with a mix of skill and pace.

Lionel Messi Ballon d'or 2012 FIFALionel Messi’s excellence at the field has been lauded by the world over through the numerous awards, honors and achievements that he has been bestowed with. Him and Portuguese star Cristano Ronaldo have been the only winners of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for the 2008–2016 period, Leo Messi taking the lead with five prizes in total. He also holds over 40 recognitions as best player of the year, top goalscorer and top assist provider, plus a considerable number of world records.

At the international level, Lionel Messi chose to represent homeland Argentina, rather than Spain, despite his dual citizenship. He made his debut with Argentina’s senior team in 2004 and has been the squad’s captain since 2011. Titles won include FIFA’s U-20 World Cup in 2005 and the Olympic Gold Medal in 2008. In June 2016, Leo became Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s previous mark of 54 goals.

Lionel Messi Argentina 2016While Argentina has one of the world’s finest national football teams, the squad has failed to win a major international title since Lionel Messi has been a part of it. Indeed, the albiceleste came as the runner-up in three consecutive finals: the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa América, and the 2016 Copa América Centenario. After the latter defeat, a visibly frustrated Messi announced his retirement from international football, only to reverse his decision two months later in response to the outpouring demostrations of support from all across Argentina.

Off the field, Lionel Messi has been actively involved in charitable efforts aimed at vulnerable children, partly in response to his own medical difficulties as a child. Apart from collaborating with UNICEF with funds and personally as a goodwill ambassador, he also runs the Leo Messi Foundation, which supports children in health care, education, and sport.

Lionel Messi is married to fellow Rosario native Antonela Roccuzzo. They have known each other since Leo was five years old, but only began going out in 2008. The couple has since had two sons: Thiago (2012) and Mateo (2015).

Messi Goals and Other Career Stats

GAMES AND GOALS PER TEAM

Argentina (2005-2017*)
118 games58 goals
Argentina U23 (2008)
5 games2 goals
Argentina U20 (2004-2005)
18 games14 goals
FC Barcelona (Spain, 2004-2017**)
382 games349 goals
FC Barcelona B (Spain, 2004-2005)22 games6 goals
FC Barcelona C (Spain, 2003-2004)10 games5 goals
TOTAL
555 games
434 goals

* Argentina national team games and goals, as of 9 June 2017.
**
Barcelona senior club games and goals counted for the domestic league only, as of 21 May 2017.

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2017 HD Lionel Messi Barca 2017 HD

TITLES WON (32*)

2005 .
La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
FIFA U-20 World Cup (Argentina)
2006
La Liga (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Champions League (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
2008
Olympic Gold Medal (Argentina)
2009
La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Copa del Rey (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Champions League (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Super Cup (FC Barcelona)
FIFA Club World Cup (FC Barcelona)
2010
La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
2011La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Champions League (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Super Cup (FC Barcelona)
FIFA Club World Cup (FC Barcelona)
2012Copa del Rey (FC Barcelona)
2013La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
2015La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Copa del Rey (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Champions League (FC Barcelona)
UEFA Super Cup (FC Barcelona)
FIFA Club World Cup (FC Barcelona)
2016La Liga (FC Barcelona)
Copa del Rey (FC Barcelona)
Supercopa de España (FC Barcelona)
2017Copa del Rey (FC Barcelona)

* As of 9 June 2017.

Lionel Messi Argentina 2014 World Cup

MAIN AWARDS AND INDIVIDUAL RECORDS

Top goalscorer
Argentina national team all-time top goalscorer (since 2016)
FC Barcelona all-time top goalscorer (since 2012)
UEFA Champions League top goalscorer (2009/10/11/12/15)
La Liga top goalscorer (2010/12/13/17)
Copa del Rey top goalscorer (2009/11/14/16/17)
Guiness World Record as top goalscorer for club and country in a calendar year (91 goals, 2012)
Best player
Ballon d’Or * (2009 – France Footbal, 2010/11/12/15 – FIFA)
Golden Ball in Brazil’s World Cup (2014 – FIFA)
World Player of the Year (2009 – FIFA)
Golden Shoe (2010/12/13/17 – European Sports Media)
Golden Boy (2005 – European Sports Media)
Best Player in Europe (2011/15 – UEFA)
Best Player in Spain (2009/10/11/12/13/15 – La Liga)
Miscellaneous____World Cup Dream Team (2014 – FIFA)
Copa America Dream Team (2007/11/15/16 – CONMEBOL)
Goal of the Season (2007/15/16 – UEFA)
Copa America Best Goal (2007 – CONMEBOL)
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador (since 2010 – UN)

* The Ballon d’Or (French for “Golden Ball”) is an annual football award presented by France Football magazine. It has been granted since 1956, although between 2010 and 2015 it temporarily merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Originally, only those players with European citizenship were in contention for the Ballon d’Or, but in 1995 it was expanded to include all players at European clubs and in 2007 to all players from around the world.

Best Lionel Messi Goals (2007-2017)


Tributes to Messi

In Argentina

Statue in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires (Av. Dr. Tristán Achával Rodríguez, Puerto Madero, City of Buenos Aires)  Lionel Messi’s statue was unveiled in June 2016 in the so-called “Paseo de la Gloria” (Passage of Glory) along promenade Costanera Sur, in the Buenos Aires district of Puerto Madero. The passage was created as part of the city’s preparations for the 2018 Youth Olympics, and pays homage to several of Argentina’s sporting greats. Apart from Messi, it currently also includes statues of racing driver icon Juan Manuel Fangio and NBA star Emanuel Ginóbili, among others.

Statue in Recoleta, Buenos Aires (Plaza Intendente Alvear, Recoleta, City of Buenos Aires) Three statues were unveiled in June 2014 with the all-time top representatives of Argentina’s national team, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, as well as Gabriel Batistuta, the then leading goalscorer for the albiceleste. The pieces created by artist Fernando Pugliese are located in the Buenos Aires district of Recoleta, in a square in front of emblematic Café La Biela. The image of Messi pictures him celebrating a goal with his hands pointing to the heavens – Leo’s characteristic dedication to his grandmother.

Mural in Rosario  In 2015, Lionel Messi had a mural painted in his honour on a wall outside his old school, Escuela Nº 66 General Las Heras. In the artpiece, which was supported by the Leo Messi Foundation, the star is wearing the Argentine shirt. Paulo Consentino was in charge of the painting – he has also done similar work on Neymar in Brazil and Luis Suárez in Uruguay.

IN SPAIN

Mural in Barcelona (Parc de les Tres Xemeneies, Poble Sec, Barcelona)  In 2016, a colourful mural popped up in Barcelona in celebration of Lionel Messi’s fifth Ballon d’Or. A few years earlier, in 2012, another Messi-themed grafitti had been painted on the same wall on occasion of Leo’s third Golden Ball.

Restaurant in Barcelona (Enric Granados 86, Barcelona, Spain) A tribute brought by Messi and his siblings to their hometown, Rosario, “Bellavista del Jardín del Norte” is a beautiful restaurant that resembles a small village, with its own church, plaza, cinema, and barbershop. It serves up an interesting mix of international cuisines, from Spain’s most evocative tapas to Lionel Messi’s favorite Argentine dish, “milanesa napolitana a caballo” (breaded veal accompanied by ham, cheese, egg and tomato sauce).

INTERNATIONAL

Wax Statues  Lionel Messi has been immortalized in wax in several Madame Tussaud’s museums across the globe, including London, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Beijing, Tokyo and Wuhan.  In New York, Messi’s figure is placed in an interactive simulator where visitors can practice their best kick in a virtual soccer arena.

Cinema  Messi is a documentary about Leo’s life, directed by cult Spanish filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia. The movie premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August 2014.


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