Lionel Messi
Association footballer
Lionel Messi
Lionel Andrés Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays for La Liga club Barcelona and is the captain of the Argentina national team, playing mainly as a forward. He is Barcelona's all-time top scorer in all official club competitions, excluding friendlies. By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations.
Biography
Lionel Messi's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Lionel Messi from around the web
Soccer-Suarez hero and villain as Barca reach King's Cup final
Yahoo News - 15 days
(Adds details, quotes) BARCELONA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Luis Suarez scored and was sent off as holders Barcelona reached a fourth successive King's Cup final after drawing 1-1 with a resilient Atletico Madrid in an action-packed semi-final second leg on Tuesday. Suarez was one of three players dismissed and will now miss the final after Barcelona edged through 3-2 on aggregate. The Uruguayan tapped in from close range in the 43rd minute after an inspired run and shot from Lionel Messi to deliver a sucker punch to Atletico, who had dominated the first half at the Nou Camp but failed to take their chances.
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Five-star Barcelona stroll back into Cup semis
Yahoo News - 27 days
Barcelona eased into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey for a seventh consecutive season 6-2 on aggregate as Denis Suarez scored twice in a 5-2 win over Real Sociedad on Thursday. Already leading 1-0 from the first leg, Barca gave Sociedad a mountain to climb as Denis Suarez finished off a great team move with the only real chance of the first-half before Lionel Messi converted from the penalty spot. Juanmi and Willian Jose grabbed a pair of consolation goals for the visitors either side of Luis Suarez's third for Barca before Arda Turan and Denis Suarez rounded off the rout.
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Soccer-La Liga top scorers
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Jan 21 (Gracenote) - Top scorers of the La Liga on Saturday 14 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) 12 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 11 Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) 9 Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) 8 Ruben Castro (Real Betis) Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) 7 Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) Florin Andone (Deportivo Coruna) Sandro Ramirez (Malaga) Gerard (Espanyol) Nicola Sansone (Villarreal) 6 Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid) Kevin Gameiro (Atletico Madrid) Pedro Leon (Eibar) Pablo Piatti (Espanyol) Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Luciano Vietto (Sevilla) Duje ...
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Soccer-La Liga top scorers
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Jan 16 (Gracenote) - Top scorers of the La Liga on Monday 14 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) 12 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 11 Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) 9 Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) 8 Ruben Castro (Real Betis) Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) 7 Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) Sandro Ramirez (Malaga) Gerard (Espanyol) Nicola Sansone (Villarreal) 6 Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid) Kevin Gameiro (Atletico Madrid) Florin Andone (Deportivo Coruna) Pedro Leon (Eibar) Luciano Vietto (Sevilla) Duje Cop (Sporting Gijon)
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Messi and Suarez score as Barcelona routs Las Palmas 5-0
Yahoo News - about 1 month
MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi didn't need a free kick this time, scoring from close range to help Barcelona rout Las Palmas 5-0 and move within two points of Spanish league leader Real Madrid on Saturday.
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Suarez, Messi keep Barca on Madrid's tail
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Luis Suarez scored twice and Lionel Messi continued his sensational form as Barcelona moved to within two points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Saturday with a 5-0 rout of Las Palmas. Madrid remain very much in pole position, though, with two games in hand, the first of which comes at third-placed Sevilla on Sunday. Suarez opened the scoring after just 14 minutes, but Barca had to wait until early in the second-half to double their lead when Messi scored for the seventh straight game.
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Messi must be handed new deal - Suarez
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has hit back at comments by the club's CEO that the Catalan giants won't "go crazy" when negotiating a new contract for five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. "With Messi what you have to do is give him a new contract, not have common sense," said Suarez after netting his 100th Barca goal in just 120 appearances as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. Despite posting a record turnover of 679 million euros ($719 million) last season, a series of expensive new contracts for the likes of Neymar and Suarez mean Barcelona are close to overstepping the 70 percent limit of turnover spent on salaries imposed by UEFA's financial fair-play laws.
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Soccer-Free kick specialist Messi fires Barca into cup last eight
Yahoo News - about 1 month
(Adds details, quotes,) By Richard Martin BARCELONA, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as holders Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 on Wednesday to overturn a deficit from the first leg and advance to the quarter-finals of the King's Cup. A Luis Suarez volley put Barca ahead in the 35th minute while Brazil international Neymar earned and converted a penalty three minutes into the second half to score his first goal since October and put Barca in front in the tie after losing the first leg 2-1.
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Messi statue 'decapitated' in Argentina
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Vandals in Buenos Aires destroyed a statue of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, leaving the sculpture of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner without its head or torso on Tuesday. "The statue of Lionel Messi fell victim to an act of vandalism that left it without its top half," the Buenos Aires city government said in a statement. The statue, sculpted out of black marble, was erected last June just after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile, after which Messi announced his international retirement.
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Soccer-La Liga top scorers
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Jan 9 (Gracenote) - Top scorers of the La Liga on Monday 13 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 12 Luis Suarez (Barcelona) 11 Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 9 Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) 8 Ruben Castro (Real Betis) Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) 7 Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) Sandro Ramirez (Malaga) Gerard (Espanyol) Nicola Sansone (Villarreal) 6 Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid) Kevin Gameiro (Atletico Madrid) Florin Andone (Deportivo Coruna) Luciano Vietto (Sevilla) Duje Cop (Sporting Gijon)
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lionel Messi
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    On 13 September 2016, Messi scored his first hat-trick of the season in the opening game of the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League campaign against Celtic in a 7–0 victory, this was also Messi's sixth hat-trick in the Champions League which is most by any player.
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    Three days later, he scored two goals and provided an assist to lead Barcelona to a 6–2 victory against Real Betis in the opening game of the 2016–17 La Liga season.
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    Messi opened the 2016–17 season by lifting the 2016 Supercopa de España as Barcelona's captain in the absence of the injured Iniesta; he set-up Munir's goal in a 2–0 away win over Sevilla in the first leg on 14 August, and subsequently scored and assisted in a 3–0 win in the return leg on 17 August.
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    In 2016, Messi was second on Forbes list of the world's highest-paid athletes (after Cristiano Ronaldo) with income of $81.4 million from his salary and endorsements in 2015–16.
    More Details Hide Details Since 2008, he has been Barcelona's highest-paid player, receiving a salary that increased incrementally from €7.8 million to €13 million over the next five years. His current salary of €20 million net (€36 million before taxes), established in 2014, is the highest ever in the sport. In addition to his salary and multimillion-euro bonuses, much of his income derives from endorsements; SportsPro has consequently cited him as one of the world's most marketable athletes every year since their research began in 2010. His main sponsor since 2006 is the sportswear company Adidas. As Barça's leading youth prospect, he had been signed with Nike since age 14, but transferred to Adidas after they successfully challenged their rival's claim to his image rights in court. Over time, Messi established himself as their leading brand endorser; from 2008, he had a long-running signature collection of Adidas F50 boots, and in 2015, he became the first footballer to receive his own sub-brand of boots, the Adidas Messi.
    On 18 June 2016, in the quarter-final of the Copa América against Venezuela, Messi produced another man of the match performance, assisting two goals and scoring another in a 4–1 victory, which enabled him to equal Gabriel Batistuta's national record of 54 goals in official international matches.
    More Details Hide Details This record was broken three days later when Messi scored in a 4–0 win in the semi-final of the Copa América against hosts the United States; he also assisted two goals during the match as Argentina sealed a place in the final of the competition for a second consecutive year, and was named man of the match once again. During a repeat of the previous year's final on 26 June, Argentina once again lost to Chile on penalties after a 0–0 deadlock, resulting in Messi's third consecutive defeat in a major tournament final with Argentina, and his fourth overall. After the match, Messi, who had missed his penalty in the shootout, announced his retirement from international football. Sources reported that other Argentine players, Sergio Agüero, Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuaín, Lucas Biglia, Éver Banega, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Ángel Di María could follow their captain in retiring from international football. The Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said after the match: "My generation can’t compare him to Maradona that’s for my generation, because of what Maradona did for Argentine football. But I think the best player ever played today here in the United States." Messi finished the tournament as the second highest scorer, behind Eduardo Vargas, with five goals, and was the highest assist provider with four assists, also winning more Man of the Match awards than any other player in the tournament (3); he was named to the team of the tournament for his performances, but missed out on the Golden Ball Award for best player, which went to Alexis Sánchez.
    On 6 July 2016, Messi and his father were both found guilty of tax fraud and were handed suspended 21-month prison sentences and respectively ordered to pay €1.7 million and €1.4 million in fines.
    More Details Hide Details While the district attorney did not consider there to be motives to accuse Messi, the state lawyer's office became the only party that requested a punishment for him, despite his declarations that he was not aware of any of the deals that were taking place with his money. Facing the judge, he said: "I just played football." Notes Notes Notes Citations Bibliography
    He stood trial alongside his father on three counts of tax evasion in May 2016.
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    Messi's place in Argentina's Copa América Centenario squad was initially put in jeopardy when he sustained a back injury in a 1–0 friendly win over Honduras in a pre-Copa América warm-up match on 27 May 2016.
    More Details Hide Details It was later reported that he had suffered a deep bruise in his lumbar region, but that he would remain in Martino's squad for the tournament, although he was later left on the bench in Argentina's 2–1 opening win over defending champions Chile on 6 June due to concerns regarding his fitness. Although Messi was declared match-fit for his nation's second group match against Panama on 10 June, Martino left him on the bench once again; he replaced Augusto Fernández in the 61st minute and subsequently scored a hat-trick in 19 minutes, also starting the play which led to Agüero's goal, as the match ended in a 5–0 victory, sealing Argentina's place in the quarter-finals of the competition; he was elected man of the match for his performance.
    In February 2016, Messi used social media and UNICEF to track down an Afghanistani boy in a photo that went viral, which showed him wearing a homemade shirt made from a striped blue plastic bag with "Messi 10" etched on the back, imitating the Argentina strip.
    More Details Hide Details On 7 June, he won a libel case against La Razón newspaper and was awarded €65000 in damages, which he donated to the charity Doctors without Borders.
    On 6 January 2016, recording Barcelona's first goal of the new year, Messi scored two goals and assisted the other two in a 4–1 derby win over Espanyol at the Camp Nou, in the first leg of the Round of 16 of the 2015–16 Copa del Rey.
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    Their success was reflected in a new contract, signed on 18 September, which committed Messi to the club through 2016 with a new buyout clause of €250 million, while his salary increased to €12 million.
    More Details Hide Details Barça's prosperity continued into the second half of 2009, as they became the first club to achieve the sextuple, winning six top-tier trophies in a single year. After victories in the Supercopa de España and UEFA Super Cup in August, they won the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes on 19 December, with Messi scoring the winning 2–1 goal with his chest. At 22 years old, Messi won the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, both times by the greatest voting margin in each trophy's history.
  • 2015
    He missed training ahead of a match against Atlético Madrid to attend the birth of his second son, Mateo, on 11 September 2015 in Barcelona.
    More Details Hide Details Messi enjoys a close relationship with his immediate family members, particularly his mother, Celia, whose face he has tattooed on his left shoulder. His professional affairs are largely run as a family business: his father, Jorge, has been his agent since he was 14, and his oldest brother, Rodrigo, handles his daily schedule and publicity. His mother and other brother, Matías, manage his charitable organisation, the Leo Messi Foundation, and take care of personal and professional matters in Rosario. Since leaving for Spain at age 13, Messi has maintained close ties to his hometown of Rosario, even preserving his distinct Rosarino accent. He has kept ownership of his family's old house, although it has long stood empty; he maintains a penthouse apartment in an exclusive residential building for his mother, as well as a family compound just outside the city.
    Messi finished the 2015–16 season by setting up both goals in Barcelona's 2–0 extra time win over Sevilla in the 2016 Copa del Rey Final, at the Vicente Calderón Stadium, on 22 May 2016, as the club celebrated winning the domestic double for the second consecutive season.
    More Details Hide Details In total, Messi scored 41 goals and provided 23 assists, as Barcelona's attacking trio managed a Spanish record of 131 goals throughout the season, breaking the record they had set the previous season.
    A few days later, he scored both goals in Barcelona's 0–2 win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, in the first leg of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League Round of 16, with the second goal being Barcelona's 10,000th in official competitions.
    More Details Hide Details On 17 April, Messi ended a five-match scoring drought with his 500th senior career goal for club and country in Barcelona's 2–1 home loss to Valencia.
    Messi capped off the year by opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup Final on 20 December, collecting his fifth club trophy of 2015 as Barcelona went on to defeat River Plate 3–0 in Yokohama, and winning the tournament's Silver Ball, despite missing the semi-final.
    More Details Hide Details On 30 December, Messi scored on his 500th appearance for Barcelona, in a 4–0 home win over Real Betis.
    Messi opened the 2015–16 season by scoring twice from free kicks in Barcelona's 5–4 victory over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.
    More Details Hide Details A subsequent 5–1 aggregate defeat against Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de España ended their expressed hopes of a second sextuple, with Messi scoring his side's only goal. On 16 September, he became the youngest player to make 100 appearances in the UEFA Champions League in a 1–1 away draw to Roma. On 26 September, Messi sustained an injury in Barcelona's match against Las Palmas; tests later confirmed that he suffered a tear in the medial collateral ligament of his left knee, ruling him out for six to eight weeks. He finally returned to the pitch on 21 November, making a substitute appearance in Barcelona's 4–0 away win over rivals Real Madrid in El Clásico.
  • 2014
    World Press Photo selected "The Final Game", a photograph of Messi facing the World Cup trophy after Argentina's final defeat to Germany, as the best sports image of 2014.
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    Messi regained his best form during the 2014–15 campaign, breaking the all-time goalscoring records in both La Liga and the Champions League in November 2014, and led Barcelona to a historic second treble.
    More Details Hide Details He is currently the second best goalscorer in the history of the European Cup/Champions League.
    Under their new manager, former captain Luis Enrique, Messi experienced a largely injury-free start to the 2014–15 season, allowing him to break three more longstanding records towards the end of the year.
    More Details Hide Details A hat-trick scored against Sevilla on 22 November made him the all-time top scorer in La Liga, as he surpassed the 59-year record of 251 league goals held by Telmo Zarra. Three days later, he scored another hat-trick against APOEL, overtaking Raúl's 71 goals to become top scorer in the history of the Champions League. A third hat-trick, scored against city rivals Espanyol on 7 December, allowed him to surpass César Rodríguez as the all-time top scorer in the Derbi barceloní with 12 goals. Messi again placed second in the FIFA Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, largely owing to his second-place achievement with Argentina at the World Cup. At the start of 2015, Barcelona were perceived to be headed for another disappointing end to the season, with renewed speculation in the media that Messi was leaving the club. A turning point came on 11 January during a 3–1 victory over Atlético Madrid, the first time Barça's attacking trident of Messi, Luis Suárez, and Neymar, dubbed MSN, each scored in a match, marking the beginning of a highly successful run. After five years of playing in the centre of the pitch, Messi had returned to his old position on the right wing late the previous year, by his own suggestion according to Suárez, their striker. From there, he regained his best — arguably his best-ever — form, while Suárez and Neymar ended the team's attacking dependency on their star player.
    After prolonged speculation over his future with the club, Messi signed a new contract on 19 May 2014, only a year after his last contractual update; his salary increased to €20 million, or €36 million before taxes, the highest wage ever in the sport.
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    On 16 September, his contract was updated for the second time in three months and extended to 2014.
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  • 2013
    To celebrate his son's first birthday, in November 2013, Messi and Thiago were part of a publicity campaign to raise awareness of mortality rates among disadvantaged children.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to his work with UNICEF, Messi founded his own charitable organisation, the Leo Messi Foundation, which supports access to health care, education, and sport for children. It was established in 2007 following a visit Messi paid to a hospital for terminally ill children in Boston, an experience that resonated with him to the point that he decided to reinvest part of his earnings into society. Through his foundation, Messi has awarded research grants, financed medical training, and invested in the development of medical centres and projects in Argentina, Spain, and elsewhere in the world. In addition to his own fundraising activities, such as his global "Messi and Friends" football matches, his foundation receives financial support from various companies to which he has assigned his name in endorsement agreements, with Adidas as their main sponsor. Messi has also invested in youth football in Argentina: he financially supports Sarmiento, a football club based in the Rosario neighbourhood where he was born, committing in 2013 to the refurbishment of their facilities and the installation of all-weather pitches, and funds the management of several youth players at Newell's Old Boys and rival club Rosario Central, as well as at River Plate and Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires. At Newell's Old Boys, his boyhood club, he funded the 2012 construction of a new gymnasium and a dormitory inside the club's stadium for their youth academy. His former youth coach at Newell's, Ernesto Vecchio, is employed by the Leo Messi Foundation as a talent scout for young players.
    Messi, who pleaded ignorance of the alleged scheme, voluntarily paid arrears of €5.1 million in August 2013.
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    Messi's financial affairs came under investigation in 2013 for suspected tax evasion. Offshore companies in tax havens Uruguay and Belize were allegedly used to evade €4.1 million in taxes related to sponsorship earnings between 2007 and 2009.
    More Details Hide Details An unrelated shell company in Panama, set up in 2012, was subsequently identified as belonging to the Messis in the Panama Papers data leak.
    A 2013 Turkish Airlines advertisement starring Messi, in which he engages in a selfie competition with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, was the most-watched ad on YouTube in the year of its release, receiving 137 million views, and was subsequently voted the best advertisement of the 2005–15 decade to commemorate YouTube's founding.
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    During the second half of the 2013–14 season, doubts persisted over Messi's form, leading to a perception among the culés that he was reserving himself for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
    More Details Hide Details Statistically, his contribution of goals, shots, and passes had dropped significantly compared to previous seasons. He still produced fine moments, as he did when he broke two longstanding records in seven days: a hat-trick on 16 March against Osasuna saw him overtake Paulino Alcántara's 369 goals to become Barcelona's top goalscorer in all competitions including friendlies, while another hat-trick against Real Madrid on 23 March made him the all-time top scorer in El Clásico, ahead of the 18 goals scored by Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano. Messi finished the campaign with his worst output in five seasons, though he still managed to score 41 goals in all competitions. For the first time in five years, Barcelona ended the season without a major trophy; they were defeated in the Copa del Rey final by Real Madrid and lost the league in the last game to Atlético Madrid, causing Messi to be booed by sections of fans at the Camp Nou.
    Messi continued to struggle with injury throughout 2013, eventually parting ways with his long-time personal physiotherapist.
    More Details Hide Details Further damage to his hamstring sustained on 12 May ended his goalscoring streak of 21 consecutive league games, a worldwide record; he had netted 33 goals during his run, including a four-goal display against Osasuna, while becoming the first player to score consecutively against all 19 opposition teams in La Liga. With 60 goals in all competitions, including 46 goals in La Liga, he finished the campaign as league top scorer in Spain and Europe for the second consecutive year, becoming the first player in history to win the European Golden Shoe three times. Following an irregular start to the new season under manager Tata Martino, formerly of his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys, Messi suffered his fifth injury that year when he tore his hamstring on 10 November, leaving him side-lined for two months. Despite his injuries, he was voted runner-up for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, relinquishing the award after a four-year monopoly to Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • 2012
    Thiago was born in Barcelona on 2 November 2012, with Messi attending the birth after being given permission by Barcelona to miss training.
    More Details Hide Details He announced his son's arrival on his Facebook page, writing: "Today I am the happiest man in the world, my son was born and thanks to God for this gift!" Thiago's name and handprints are tattooed on his left calf. In April 2015, Messi confirmed on Facebook that they were expecting another child.
    As Messi maintained his goalscoring form into the second half of the season, the year 2012 saw him break several longstanding records.
    More Details Hide Details On 7 March, two weeks after scoring four goals in a league fixture against Valencia, he scored five times in a Champions League last 16 round match against Bayer Leverkusen, an unprecedented achievement in the history of the competition. In addition to being the joint top assist provider with five assists, this feat made him top scorer with 14 goals, tying José Altafini's record from the 1962–63 season, as well as becoming only the second player after Gerd Müller to be top scorer in four campaigns. Two weeks later, on 20 March, Messi became the top goalscorer in Barcelona's history at 24 years old, overtaking the 57-year record of César Rodríguez's 232 goals with a hat-trick against Granada. Despite Messi's individual form, Barcelona's four-year cycle of success under Guardiola — one of the greatest eras in the club's history — drew to an end. Although they won the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao on 25 May, their fourteenth title of that period, they had lost the league to Real Madrid and were eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals by the eventual champions, Chelsea, with Messi sending a crucial second-leg penalty kick against the crossbar. In their last home league match on 5 May, against Espanyol, Messi scored all four goals before approaching the bench to embrace Guardiola, who had announced his resignation as manager. He finished the season as league top scorer in Spain and Europe for a second time, with 50 goals, an all-time La Liga record, while his 73 goals in all competitions surpassed Gerd Müller's 67 goals in the 1972–73 Bundesliga season, making him the single-season top scorer in the history of European club football.
  • 2011
    For his efforts in 2011, he again received the FIFA Ballon d'Or, becoming only the fourth player in history to win the Ballon d'Or three times, after Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten.
    More Details Hide Details Additionally, he won the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, a revival of the old-style Ballon d'Or. By then, Messi was widely considered one of the best players in history, alongside legends like Diego Maradona and Pelé.
    As Messi developed into a combination of a number eight (a creator), a nine (scorer), and a 10 (assistant), he scored an unprecedented 73 goals and provided 29 assists in all club competitions during the 2011–12 season, producing a hat-trick or more on 10 occasions.
    More Details Hide Details He began the campaign by helping Barcelona win both the Spanish and European super cups; in the Supercopa de España, he scored three times to achieve a 5–4 aggregate victory over Real Madrid, overtaking Raúl as the competition's all-time top scorer with eight goals. At the close of the year, on 18 December, he scored twice in the FIFA Club World Cup final, a 4–0 victory over Santos, winning the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament, as he had done two years previously.
  • 2010
    His club performances in 2010 earned him the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or, an amalgamation of the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, though his win was met with some criticism due to his lack of success with Argentina at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
    More Details Hide Details Under the award's old format, he would have placed just outside the top three, owing his win to the votes from the international coaches and captains. Towards the end of the season, Barcelona played four controversial clásicos in the span of 18 days. A league match on 16 April ended in a draw after a penalty from Messi. After they lost the Copa del Rey final four days later, he scored both goals in their 2–0 win in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, the second of which — a dribble past three players — was acclaimed as one of the best ever in the competition. Although he did not score, he was again important in the second-leg draw that sent them through to the Champions League final, where they faced Manchester United in a repeat of the final two years earlier. As the competition's top scorer for the third consecutive year, with 12 goals, Messi gave a man-of-the-match performance at Wembley on 28 May, scoring the match-winning goal of their 3–1 victory. Barcelona won a third consecutive La Liga title. In addition to his 31 goals, Messi was the league's top assist provider with 18 assists. He finished the season with 53 goals and 24 assists in all competitions, becoming Barcelona's all-time single-season top scorer and the first player in Spanish football to reach the 50-goal benchmark.
    Assuming a playmaking role, he was again instrumental in a clásico on 29 November 2010, the first with José Mourinho in charge of Real Madrid, as Barcelona defeated their rivals 5–0.
    More Details Hide Details Messi helped the team achieve 16 consecutive league victories, a record in Spanish football, concluding with another hat-trick against Atlético Madrid on 5 February 2011.
    Messi secured their first trophy of the 2010–11 campaign, the Supercopa de España, by scoring a hat-trick in their 4–0 victory over Sevilla, after a first-leg defeat.
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    Unsatisfied with his position on the right wing, Messi resumed playing as a false nine in early 2010, beginning with a Champions League last 16 round match against Stuttgart.
    More Details Hide Details After a first-leg draw, they won the second leg 4–0 with two goals and an assist from Messi. At that point, he effectively became the tactical focal point of Guardiola's team, and his goalscoring rate increased. Messi scored a total of 47 goals in all competitions that season, equal to Ronaldo's club record from the 1996–97 campaign. He notably scored all of his side's four goals in the Champions League quarter-final against Arsène Wenger's Arsenal on 6 April, a rare achievement, while becoming Barcelona's all-time top scorer in the competition. Although they were eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals by the eventual champions, Inter Milan, Messi finished the season as top scorer, with eight goals, for the second consecutive year. As league top scorer in Spain and Europe with 34 goals, again tying Ronaldo's record, he helped Barcelona win La Liga with only a single defeat.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    During a clásico on 2 May 2009, however, he played for the first time as a false nine, positioned as a centre-forward but dropping deep into midfield to link up with Xavi and Andrés Iniesta.
    More Details Hide Details He assisted with a chip his side's first goal and scored twice to end the match in an emphatic 6–2 victory, their greatest-ever score at Real Madrid's Bernabéu stadium. Returning to the wing, he played his first final since breaking into the first team on 13 May, scoring once and assisting a second goal as they defeated Athletic Bilbao 4–1 to win the Copa del Rey. With 23 league goals from Messi that season, they were crowned La Liga champions three days later to win their fifth double. As the season's Champions League top scorer 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. He returned as a false nine during the final on 27 May in Rome, where they faced Manchester United. When he headed the ball over goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to make the end score 2–0, Barcelona were champions of Europe, achieving the first treble in the history of Spanish football.
    After keeping their relationship private for a year, Messi first confirmed their romance in an interview in January 2009, before going public a month later during a carnival in Sitges after the Barcelona–Espanyol derby.
    More Details Hide Details He had previously been romantically linked with Argentine models Macarena Lemos and Luciana Salazar. Messi and Roccuzzo have two sons: Thiago (born 2012) and Mateo (born 2015). To celebrate his partner's first pregnancy, Messi placed the ball under his shirt after scoring in Argentina's 4–0 win against Ecuador on 2 June 2012, before confirming the pregnancy in an interview two weeks later.
  • 2008
    Ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics, Barcelona legally barred Messi from representing Argentina at the tournament as it coincided with their Champions League qualifying matches.
    More Details Hide Details After interference from newly appointed manager Pep Guardiola, who had won the tournament in 1992, Messi was permitted to join Sergio Batista's Under-23 squad in Beijing. During the first match, he scored the opening goal and assisted another in their 2–1 victory over Ivory Coast. Following a 1–0 win in the next group match against Australia, ensuring their quarter-final qualification, Messi was rested during the game against Serbia, while his side won the match to finish first in their group. Against the Netherlands, he again scored the first goal and assisted a second strike to help his team to a 2–1 win in extra time. After a 3–0 semi-final victory over Brazil, Messi assisted the only goal in the final as Argentina defeated Nigeria to claim Olympic gold medals. Along with Riquelme, Messi was singled out by FIFA as the stand-out player from the tournament's best team.
    In his first uninterrupted campaign, the 2008–09 season, he scored 38 goals in 51 games, contributing alongside Eto'o and winger Thierry Henry to a total of 100 goals in all competitions, a record at the time for the club.
    More Details Hide Details During his first season under Barcelona's new manager, former captain Pep Guardiola, Messi played mainly on the right wing, like he had under Rijkaard, though this time as a false winger with the freedom to cut inside and roam the centre.
    Despite his injuries early in the year, his performances in 2008 saw him again voted runner-up for the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, both times behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
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    He signed a new contract in July 2008 on an annual salary of €7.8 million, becoming the club's highest-paid player.
    More Details Hide Details Ahead of the new season, a major concern remained his frequent muscular injuries, which had left him side-lined for a total of eight months between 2006 and 2008. To combat the problem, the club implemented new training, nutrition, and lifestyle regimens, and assigned him a personal physiotherapist, who would travel with him during call-ups for the Argentina national team. As a result, Messi remained virtually injury-free during the next four years, allowing him to reach his full potential.
    He returned to score twice in their away victory against Celtic in the last 16 round of the Champions League, becoming the competition's top scorer at that point with six goals, but reinjured himself during the return leg on 4 March 2008.
    More Details Hide Details Rijkaard had fielded him despite warning from the medical staff, leading captain Carles Puyol to criticise the Spanish media for pressuring Messi to play every match. Barcelona finished the season without trophies, eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals by the eventual champions, Manchester United, and placed third in the league. After two unsuccessful seasons, Barcelona were in need of an overhaul, leading to the dismissals of Rijkaard and Ronaldinho. Upon the latter's departure, Messi was given the number 10 shirt.
  • 2007
    Although he managed to score 16 goals during the 2007–08 campaign, the second half of his season was again marred by injuries after he suffered a torn hamstring on 15 December.
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    His efforts in 2007 also earned him award recognition; journalists voted him the third-best player of the year for the Ballon d'Or, behind Kaká and runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo, while international managers and national team captains voted him second for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, again behind Kaká.
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    On 10 March 2007, he scored his first hat-trick in a clásico, the first player to do so in 12 years, equalising after each goal by Real Madrid to end the match in a 3–3 draw in extra time.
    More Details Hide Details His growing importance to the club was reflected in a new contract, signed that month, which greatly increased his wages. Already frequently compared to compatriot Diego Maradona, Messi proved their similarity when he nearly replicated Maradona's two most famous goals in the span of three weeks. During a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe on 18 April, he scored a goal remarkably similar to Maradona's goal in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, known as the Goal of the Century. Messi collected the ball on the right side near the halfway line, ran, and beat five defenders before scoring with an angled finish, just as Maradona had done. A league match against Espanyol on 9 June saw him score by launching himself at the ball and guiding it past the goalkeeper with his hand in similar fashion to Maradona's Hand of God goal in the same World Cup match. As Messi continued his individual rise, Barcelona faltered; the team failed to reach the Copa del Rey final after Messi was rested during the second leg against Getafe and lost the league to Real Madrid on goal average.
  • 2006
    However, he continued to be plagued by major injuries; a metatarsal fracture sustained on 12 November 2006 kept him out of action for three months.
    More Details Hide Details He recovered in time for the last 16 round of the Champions League against Liverpool, but was effectively marked out of the game; Barcelona, the reigning champions, were out of the competition. In the league, his goal contribution increased towards the end of the season; 11 of his 14 goals came from the last 13 games.
    While Barcelona began a gradual decline, the 19-year-old Messi established himself as one of the best players in the world during the 2006–07 campaign.
    More Details Hide Details Already an idol to the culés, the club's supporters, he scored 17 goals in 36 games across all competitions.
    After he had scored 8 goals in 25 games, including his first in the Champions League, his season ended prematurely during the return leg against Chelsea on 7 March 2006, when he suffered a torn hamstring.
    More Details Hide Details Messi worked to regain fitness in time for the Champions League final, but was told the day of the final, 17 May, that he was not fit enough to play. He was so disappointed that he did not celebrate their victory over Arsenal in Paris, something he later came to regret.
  • 2005
    After making his senior debut in August 2005, Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup during the 2006 edition, and reached the final of the 2007 Copa América, where he was named young player of the tournament.
    More Details Hide Details As the squad's captain from August 2011, he led Argentina to three consecutive finals of the 2014 World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball, and the 2015 and 2016 Copas América. He was convicted of tax fraud committed from 2007 to 2009, for which he received a fine and a suspended prison sentence.
    An Argentine international, Messi is his country's all-time leading goalscorer. At youth level, he won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, finishing the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, and an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
    More Details Hide Details His style of play as a diminutive, left-footed dribbler drew comparisons with compatriot Diego Maradona, who declared the teenager his successor.
    On 24 June 2005, his 18th birthday, Messi signed his first contract as a senior team player.
    More Details Hide Details It made him a Barcelona player until 2010, two years less than his previous contract, but his buyout clause increased to €150 million. His breakthrough came two months later, on 24 August, during the Joan Gamper trophy, Barcelona's pre-season competition. A starter for the first time, he gave a well-received performance against Fabio Capello's Juventus, receiving an ovation from the Camp Nou. While Capello requested to loan Messi, a bid to buy him came from Inter Milan, who were willing to pay his buyout clause and triple his wages. According to then-president Joan Laporta, it was the only time the club faced a real risk of losing Messi, but he ultimately decided to stay.
    He scored his first senior goal on 1 May 2005, against Albacete, from an assist by Ronaldinho, becoming at that time the youngest-ever scorer for the club.
    More Details Hide Details Barcelona, in their second season under Rijkaard, won the league for the first time in six years.
    He was subsequently included in the squad for the South American Youth Championship, held in Colombia in February 2005.
    More Details Hide Details As he lacked the stamina of his teammates, the result of his former growth hormone deficiency, he was used as a substitute in six of the nine games, proving more effective when coming on in the second half. After being named man of the match against Venezuela, he scored the winning 2–1 goal in the crucial last match against Brazil, thereby securing their third-place qualification for the FIFA World Youth Championship. Aware of his physical limitations, Messi employed a personal trainer to increase his muscle mass, returning to the squad in improved condition in time for the World Youth Championship, hosted by the Netherlands in June 2005. After he was left out of the starting line-up in their first match against the United States, a 1–0 defeat, the squad's senior players asked manager Francisco Ferraro to let Messi start, as they considered him their best player. After helping the team defeat Egypt and Germany to progress past the group stage, Messi proved decisive in the knockout phase as he scored their equaliser against Colombia, provided a goal and an assist against title favourites Spain, and scored their opening goal against reigning champions Brazil. Ahead of the final, he was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. He scored two penalties in their 2–1 victory over Nigeria, clinching Argentina's fifth championship and finishing the tournament as top scorer with 6 goals. His performances drew comparisons with compatriot Diego Maradona, who had led Argentina to the title in 1979.
  • 2004
    Since his debut the previous November, he had not been called up to the first team again, but in October 2004, the senior players asked manager Frank Rijkaard to promote him.
    More Details Hide Details Since Ronaldinho already played on the left wing, Rijkaard moved Messi from his usual position onto the right flank, though initially against the player's wishes, allowing him to cut into the centre of the pitch and shoot with his dominant left foot. Messi made his league debut during the next match on 16 October, against Espanyol, coming on in the 82nd minute. At 17 years, three months, and 22 days old, he was at the time the youngest player to represent Barcelona in an official competition. As a substitute player, he played only 77 minutes in nine matches for the first team that season, including his debut in the UEFA Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk.
    During the 2004–05 season, Messi was a guaranteed starter for the B team, playing 17 games throughout the campaign and scoring on six occasions.
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    After a fast progression through Barcelona's youth academy, Messi made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004.
    More Details Hide Details Despite being injury-prone during his early career, he established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, finishing 2007 as a finalist for both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award, a feat he repeated the following year. His first uninterrupted campaign came in the 2008–09 season, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football. At 22 years old, Messi won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award by record voting margins. Three successful seasons followed, with Messi winning three consecutive FIFA Ballons d'Or, including an unprecedented fourth. His personal best campaign to date was the 2011–12 season, in which he set the La Liga and European records for most goals scored in a single season, while establishing himself as Barcelona's all-time top scorer in official competitions in March 2012. He again struggled with injury during the following two seasons, twice finishing second for the Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, his perceived career rival.
    His progress was reflected in his first professional contract, signed on 4 February 2004, which lasted until 2012 and contained an initial buyout clause of €30 million.
    More Details Hide Details A month later, on 6 March, he made his debut for Barcelona B in the Segunda División B, and his buyout clause automatically increased to €80 million. He played five games with the B team that season but did not score. Physically he was weaker than his opponents, who were often much older and taller, and in training he worked on increasing his muscle mass and overall strength in order to be able to shake off defenders. Towards the end of the season, he returned to both youth teams, helping the Juveniles B win the league. He finished the campaign having scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals in all official competitions.
  • 2003
    At 16 years, four months, and 23 days old, he made his first team debut when he came on in the 75th minute during a friendly against José Mourinho's Porto on 16 November 2003.
    More Details Hide Details His performance, creating two chances and a shot on goal, impressed the technical staff, and he subsequently began training daily with the club's reserve side, Barcelona B, as well as weekly with the first team. After his first training session with the senior squad, Barça's new star player, Ronaldinho, told his teammates that he believed the 16-year-old would become an even better player than himself. Ronaldinho soon befriended Messi, whom he called "little brother," which greatly eased his transition into the first team. To gain further match experience, Messi joined Barcelona C in addition to the Juveniles A, playing his first game for the third team on 29 November. He helped save them from the relegation zone of the Tercera División, scoring five goals in 10 games, including a hat-trick in eight minutes during a Spanish Cup match while man-marked by Sevilla's Sergio Ramos.
    During the 2003–04 season, his fourth with Barcelona, Messi rapidly progressed through the club's ranks, debuting for a record five teams in a single campaign.
    More Details Hide Details After being named player of the tournament in four international pre-season competitions with the Juveniles B, he played only one official match with the team before being promoted to the Juveniles A, where he scored 18 goals in 11 league games. Messi was then one of several youth players called up to strengthen a depleted first team during the international break. French Winger Ludovic Giuly explained how a teenage Leo caught the eye in a training session with Frank Rijkaard's first team: "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 four players and score a goal. Even the team's starting centre-backs were nervous. He was an alien."
  • 2002
    During his first full season, in 2002–03, he was top scorer with 36 goals in 30 games for the Cadetes A, who won an unprecedented treble of the league and both the Spanish and Catalan cups.
    More Details Hide Details The Copa Catalunya final, a 4–1 victory over Espanyol, became known in club lore as the partido de la máscara, the final of the mask. A week after suffering a broken cheekbone during a league match, Messi was allowed to start the game on the condition that he wear a plastic protector; soon hindered by the mask, he took it off and scored two goals in 10 minutes before his substitution. At the close of the season, he received an offer to join Arsenal, his first from a foreign club, but while Fàbregas and Piqué soon left for England, he chose to remain in Barcelona.
    After a year at Barcelona's youth academy, La Masia, Messi was finally enrolled in the Royal Spanish Football Federation in February 2002.
    More Details Hide Details Now playing in all competitions, he befriended his teammates, among whom were Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué. After completing his growth hormone treatment aged 14, Messi became an integral part of the "Baby Dream Team", Barcelona's greatest-ever youth side.
  • 2000
    As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona in September 2000.
    More Details Hide Details First team director Charly Rexach immediately wanted to sign him, but the board of directors hesitated; at the time it was highly unusual for European clubs to sign foreign players of such a young age. On 14 December, an ultimatum was issued for Barcelona to prove their commitment, and Rexach, with no other paper at hand, offered a contract on a paper napkin. In February 2001, the family relocated to Barcelona, where they moved into an apartment near the club's stadium, Camp Nou. During his first year in Spain, Messi rarely played with the Infantiles due to a transfer conflict with Newell's; as a foreigner, he could only be fielded in friendlies and the Catalan league. Without football, he struggled to integrate into the team; already reserved by nature, he was so quiet that his teammates initially believed he was mute. At home, he suffered from homesickness after his mother moved back to Rosario with his brothers and little sister, María Sol, while he stayed in Barcelona with his father.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1987
    Lionel Andrés Messi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Santa Fe, the third of four children of Jorge Messi, a steel factory manager, and his wife Celia Cuccittini, who worked in a magnet manufacturing workshop.
    More Details Hide Details On his father's side, he is of Italian and Spanish heritage, the great-grandson of immigrants from Marche and Catalonia, and on his mother's side, he is of primarily Italian descent. Growing up in a tight-knit, football-loving family, "Leo" developed a passion for the sport from an early age, playing constantly with his older brothers, Rodrigo and Matías, and his cousins, Maximiliano and Emanuel Biancucchi, both of whom became professional footballers. At the age of four years, he joined local club Grandoli, where he was coached by his father, though his earliest influence as a player came from his maternal grandmother, Celia, who accompanied him to training and matches. He was greatly affected by her death, shortly before his eleventh birthday; since then, as a devout Catholic, he has celebrated his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky in tribute of his grandmother.
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