Lionel Messi – The top footballer everyone loves to watch
Lionel Messi in early age
Lionel Andres Messi, the famous footballer was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. His father Jorge Messi was a steel factory manager and his mother Celia Cuccittini was an employee in a workshop.
Fortunately, he belonged to a family of football admirers. He played with his older brothers Rodrigo, and Matías and with his cousins, Maximiliano, and Emanuel Biancucchi. His cousins then became professional footballers.
At the age of four, he joined the club Gradoli where his father coached him. However, his early influence was his maternal grandmother Celia. She accompanied him to matches and training. Messi still reveres her by looking up and pointing to the sky after his goals.
Lionel Messi joined Rosario Club
Messi joined Newell’s Old Boys club in Rosario at the age of 12. He played six years for the club. And he scored almost 500 goals as a member of “The Machine of 87’, the youth side club. The club was named after the year of formation.
When he was still at the tender age of 10, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. It was not affordable for his family and the clubs also didn’t offer any help.
Lionel Messi Started his career with Barcelona
The Messi family then tried to sign up with Barcelona Club. On 14 December 2000, the team director Charly Rexach offered a contract. In Feb 2001, his family relocated to Barcelona and stayed near the club’s stadium Camp Nou.
During his first year in Barcelona, he didn’t play much. He was abnormally quiet to the extent that his colleagues believed him as a mute. As his mother went back to Rosario, he stayed with his father. He also felt homesick.
Messi spent a year with Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia. Then he got the enrollment in the Royal Spanish Football Federation in February 2002. He started to play in all competitions, felt good, and befriended his teammates.
Messi completed the growth hormone treatment at the age of 14. Then began to play for ‘Baby Dream Team,” the youth side of Barcelona team. In his first full season in the year 2002-03, he scored 36 goals in 30 games. The team also won Spanish and Catalan cups.
Rose in ranks
In the 2003 -04 season, Lionel Messi started to rise rapidly in ranks in the club. In the season, he debuted for five teams in a single campaign, which was a record.
He played for the Juveniles B team and got ‘player of the tournament’ in four international pre-season competitions. Then he played one official match with the team and got promoted to Juveniles A team. He scored 18 goals in league games for the team.
On 16 November 2003, when he was 16 years old, he got the chance for a team debut. He came in at the 75th minute in a friendly encounter. His performance created two chances and a shot on goal.
The performance impressed the technical staff. It helped Messi to begin daily training with Barcelona B which was a reserve side. And also weekly training with the main team.
Lionel Messi Signed contract with Barcelona
Then Messi joined Barcelona C. He signed his first professional contract on 4 February 2004, for the initial buy out clause of €30 million. The contract lasted until 2012. One month later, he made his debut for Barcelona B and his buyout clause increased to €80 million.
He didn’t score in the five games he played for the B team. Then it was a challenge for him to face the stronger and senior opponents. To shake off defenders, he worked to increase his muscle mass and strength.
His efforts materialized into action. And he scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals towards the end of the season.
2004 -2005 First official competition
In the 2004-2005 season, Lionel Messi played 17 games for the B team and scored on six occasions. But he didn’t play for the first team. As senior players asked the manager to promote him, he got his chance in October 2004 to play in the right flank.
Messi made his debut on 16 October against Espanyol. He was at the age of 17 years then and he was the youngest to represent Barcelona in an official competition. Messi scored his first senior goal on 1 May 2005 and the goal was against Albacete. He got assistance from Ronaldhino to score the goal.
Messi became the youngest scorer for Barcelona and the team won the league for the first time in six years.
2005–08: Lionel Messi in the starting eleven players squad
Messi signed his first contract as senior Barcelona player on 24 June 2005, for the year up to 2010 and his buyout clause was €150 million.
Two months later i.e. on August 24, he played against Fabio Capello’s Juventus. After the well-received performance, Capello requested to loan Messi. And Inter Millan tried its bid by offering to pay his €150 million buyout clause and triple his wages.
Messi decided to stay with Barcelona. Subsequently, his contract was updated and extended up to 2014. The renewal of the contract happened the second time in three months.
An issue with his legal status in the Royal Spanish Football Federation prevented him from taking part in La Liga during the start of the play. Then he acquired Spanish citizenship on 26 September and started to play in the league.
Messi along with Ronaldhino and Samuel Eto formed the attacking trio and he established himself as the right-winger.
Then he started to play in the starting line-up in major matches. During the Champions League, he had to end his session due to a torn hamstring, after he scored 8 goals in 25 games. Messi tried to regain his fitness but he was ruled out on May 17, the day of final.
During the 2006-07 campaign, Messi became one of the best players in the Wolrd though Barcelona’s team was on a decline. But injuries troubled his progress then and there. In the Champion league, 11 of his 14 goals came from the last 13 games.
Messi scored his first hattrick in a Clasico on 10 March 2007, and he became the first player to do so in 12 years. A new contract was signed in the club which greatly increased his wages.
Critics and fans frequently compared him with his fellow countryman Diego Maradona. Moreover, Messi re-created the scenes on two occasions and it had exact similarity with the playing of Maradona.
On April 18, Messi scored a goal similar to Maradona’s goal in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup. In that play, Messi collected the ball on the right side near the halfway line, beat five defenders, ran 60 meters and scored the goal with an angled finish. Maradona’s goal was known as the goal of the century.
Messi repeated the pattern of the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal by Maradona in the same World Cup, in a match against Espanyol on June 9.
Ronaldinho lost his form, and Messi became the star player of Barcelona. And the Spanish Media began to refer him as “Messiah.”
The Barcelona club had two unsuccessful seasons and it led to the departure of Rijkaard and Ronaldinho. Messi got the number 20 shirt and he signed a new contract in July 2008 for an annual salary of €7.8 million. He became the club’s highest-paid player.
To handle his injuries, the club took some measures like new training, nutrition, and lifestyle regimens. He also was provided with a personal physiotherapist. It helped Messi and he remained totally injury-free for some years.
2009–11: Lionel Messi carried on his success
The season 2008-09 was the first one without any hurdles and Messi scored 38 goals in 51 games. He contributed to the team well and the club scored 100 goals in all competitions, which was a record at the time.
On 2 May 2009, during the Clasico, he played as a false nine and assisted the first goal and scored twice. It helped his club to earn a convincing 6-2 victory. He scored 23 goals in that season and Barcelona became a La Liga champion.
He was the top scorer with nine goals in the Champions League and he also scored two goals and assisted two goals in the victory of 4-0 over Bayern Munich.
As the season’s top scorer in the Champions League with nine goals, the youngest in the tournament’s history, Messi scored two goals and assisted two more to ensure a 4–0 quarter-final victory over Bayern Munich.
On 27 May, Barcelona met Manchester United in the final in Rome and won the match 2-0. In the match, Messi scored the second goal by a header over the goalkeeper. Barcelona won the champions of Europe and achieved the first treble in the history of Spanish Football.
This winning led to the signing of a contract on 18 September which extended the term up to 2016 under the buyout clause €250 million and his salary was €12 million.
The winning streak continued to the second half of 2009 and Barcelona became the first club to win the six top trophies in a single year. Then Messi won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award and he was 22 years old then. He won the trophies with a huge voting margin in the history of the trophies.
In the year 2010, Messi played as a false nine in the Champions League and Barcelona won the second leg 4-0. In this season, he scored 47 goals and equaled Ronaldo’s club record.
For the second consecutive time, Messi finished the Champions League as a top scorer. And Barcelona also won the La Liga Trophy for the second consecutive time.
Then, in the 2010-11 season, Messi scored a hat-trick against Sevilla. He performed well in Clasico and Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 5-0. He contributed his best in the 16 consecutive league victories of Barcelona.
For his club performance in the year 2010, he received the inaugural Ballon d’Or. It was a combination of Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year.
Messi scored both the goals in his side 2-0 win in Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. His dribbling past three players in scoring the second goal was the best one in the competition.
With his 12 goals, he became the top scorer in the competition and Barcelona won the La Liga title for a third consecutive time. In the season, he scored 53 goals and 24 assists. And he became the all-time single-season top scorer for Barcelona and the first player to reach the 50-goals in a season in Spanish football.
In the 2011-12 season, he scored 73 goals and provided 29 assists. Then he played well and contributed to the winning of Spanish and European super cups. Further, he scored two goals in the 4-0 victory over Santos in the FIFA world cup. And he won the golden ball for the best player of the tournament.
Messi got FIFA Ballon d’Or award again for displaying his skills in 2011 and became the fourth player to win the award three times. Messi also won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.
2012 Lionel Messi Broke early records
In the year 2012, Messi continued his scoring and set to break many long-standing records. On March 7, he scored five goals against Bayer Leverkusen which is unprecedented in the history of Champions League.
He scored 14 goals and tied the record made in the 1962-63 season and became the second top scorer in four campaigns. And also, he provided five assists and was the top assist provider.
On March 20, with the hat-trick against Granada, Messi became the top goal scorer in the history of Barcelona. During this season, in spite of Messi’s individual performance, Barcelona lost the Champions League title and lost the semifinal match to Chelsea.
With his 50 goals, he was the league top scorer in Spain and Europe and it was a La Liga record. He scored 73 goals in all competitions and became the single-season top scorer in the history of European club football.
During the second half of the 2012 season, Messi helped his club to score 55 points and it was the best-ever start to La Liga season. The 55 points at the competitions midway point was a record in Spanish football.
Then with the double, he scored on 9 December against Real Betis, Messi broke two long-standing records. He became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in La Liga with his 190 league goals and broke the record made by Cesar Rodriguez. And he also surpassed the record of Gerd Muller in scoring most goals in a calendar year, by overtaking his 85 goals.
Messi received the Guinness World Records for most goals scored in a calendar year and also won the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Subsequently, he became the only player to win the title for the fourth time.
2013 -14 The team depended on him
In February 2013, Lionel Messi renewed his contract with Barcelona for €13 million.
On 17 March, Messi wore the captain’s armband for the first time in a league match against Rayo Vallecano. His goal contribution increased to 40% in that season and it raised the winning chances of his team.
In the quarter-final match against Paris Saint-German, he suffered a hamstring strain. And during the second leg match against PSG, he entered only in the second half and scored a tying goal within minutes. Then, his team reached the semi-finals.
When Barcelona played against Bayern Munich in the first leg, Messi didn’t participate as he had not gained his fitness. His team Barcelona lost the match and it proves the team’s dependence on Messi.
Then Lionel Messi made a world record by scoring in 21 leagues consecutively and by scoring 33 goals. And he became the first player to score consecutively against all 19 opposing teams in La Liga.
He suffered from injuries in the year 2013 and he was at the sidelines for two more months. In spite of this setback, he received runner up in the
FIFA Ballon d’Or.
But Messi went on and broke two long-standing records in a gap of seven days. On 16 March, he overtook Paulino Alcantara’s record of 369 goals, when he scored a hat-trick against Osasuna. And on March 23, he beat the record of Alfredo Di Stefano’s 18 goals as a top scorer in El-Clasico by scoring another hat-trick.
2014–15: A historic treble
Lionel Messi started to play the 2014-15 season and he started the season with injury-free fitness. Then he surpassed three long-standing records.
On November 22, he broke the record of Telmo Zarra, who scored 251 league goals. Messi broke the record when he scored a hat-trick against Sevilla. And he became the all-time top scorer in La Liga.
On December 7, Messi scored another hat-trick against Espanyol and became the all time top scorer in the Derbi barceloni.
The three top players Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar performed well and got the name “attacking trident.” Messi wanted to return to the right-wing position and the change in position helped the trio to score 122 goals in the season and Messi scored 58 goals in it.
On 17 May, Lionel Messi scored a goal against Atletico Madrid and secured the La Liga title with the 1-0 win over the team. He scored 43 league goals in the season and among the goals was the fastest hat trick he scored against Rayo Vallecano in 11 mins. Then, he became the most hat-trick scorer in Spanish football.
He also became the player who provided the highest number of assists in La Liga with his tally of 18 assists. Further, he made his record 106th assist in a fixture against Levante.
In the Copa del Rey final, Messi scored twice in the 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. In scoring the opening goal, he picked the ball from the center, passed three opponents, and scored the goal in the narrow space near the post. And the goal became the best one in his career.
In the 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich, Messi scored twice and assisted another one. In his second goal, he dribbled past the defender that made the defender fall to the ground. Then he chipped the ball over the goalkeeper. The UEFA named the goal as the best goal of the season.
When Barcelona won their second treble by defeating Juventus, it became the first team to achieve it.
Further, Messi achieved the distinction for being the first player to get the top scoring mark in five Champions League seasons. He received UEFA best player in Europe award for the second time for his achievements.
2015–16: Success in home
To start the season, Lionel Messi scored two goals in Barcelona’s 5-4 victory over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup championship. When he played the match against Roma on 16 September, he became the youngest player who made 100 appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
On December 20, he won the FIFA Club World Cup and it was his fifth club trophy. Consequently, on December 30, he made his 500th appearance for Barcelona and scored a 4-0 win over Real Betis.
Messi started the year 2016 on a winning note. He won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for a record fifth time in his career. Then, on 3 February, he scored a hat-trick in Barcelona’s 7-0 win against Valencia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi final at Camp Nou.
Then, Lionel Messi scored his 300th goal on 17 February during the 1-3 match win against Sporting de Gijon. Consequently, he scored both the goals in the 2-0 win against Arsenal in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League at the Emirates Stadium.
On 22 May, he also scored both the goals in the 2-0 win over Sevilla in the 2016 Copa del Rey Final at the Vicente Calderon Stadium. In the season, he scored 41 goals and provided 23 assists.
2016–17: Won the fourth golden boot
Lionel Messi started the 2016-17 season by winning the 2016 Supercopa de Espana as Barcelona’s captain. Some days later, he scored two goals and provided an assist when Barcelona won Real Betis 6 -2 in the opening game of the La Liga season.
In the opening game of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League, Messi scored his first hat-trick of the season in the match against Celtic. His team won 7-0 and with his sixth hat-trick, he became the player who scored the most hat-trick in the Champions League.
Next, in the 4-0 home win over Deportivo de La Coruna, he played after three weeks’ rest due to an injury. But, he scored in three minutes after he came from the bench and marked his return with a goal.
In the next match, when Barcelona defeated Manchester City 4-0, Messi scored his 37th club hat-trick. Then on 1 November, Messi scored his 54th Champions League group stage goal and broke the previous record of 53 goals by Raul.
Lionel Messi finished the year 2016 with 51 goals and became Europe’s top scorer. On 9 January 2017, he won second place in Ballon d’Or. He also finished in second place in the 2016 Best FIFA Men’s Player Award.
Then in the match against Athletic Bilbao in Copa del Rey, Messi scored in a free kick in Barcelona’s 3-1 victory. With this goal, he equaled the club’s all-time record. In the subsequent league match, when Barcelona won 5-0 against Las Palmas, Messi equaled the record for the most number of teams scored against in La Liga.
When Messi scored his 27th free-kick for Barcelona on 4th February in the league against Athletic Bilbao, he became the all-time top scorer from free-kicks. On 23 April, in a match against Real Madrid Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona.
In the 2017 Copa del Rey Final held on 27 May, Lionel Messi scored a goal and assisted one in the 3-1 victory over Alaves. In the 2016-17 season, he scored 54 goals and provided 16 assists, and won both the Pichichi and European Golden Boot Awards for the fourth time in his career.
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