Biography

Lionel Messi

Argentinian Footballer
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (Photo: Adidas / Handout)

Lionel Messi is an Argentinian footballer who plays as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain.

Lionel Messi

• Date of birth: 24 June 1987
• Age: 34 years old
• Place of birth: Rosario, Argentina
• Nationality: Argentine
• Wife: Antonela Roccuzzo
• Height: 169cm / 5ft 7ins
• Weight: 67kg / 148lbs
• Wages: €729,000 per week (reported)
• Net worth: $130m (Forbes, 2021)

• Facebook: @leomessi
• Instagram: @leomessi

After coming through their youth system, Messi firmly established himself as a FC Barcelona great after the South American made his debut for the Spanish club in October 2004.

Lionel won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, the Copa del Rey seven times and the Spanish Super Cup on eight occasions with FC Barcelona. The Argentine has also won the Ballon d’Or award a record seven times.

Messi was sent off inside two minutes of his Argentina debut against Hungary on 17 August 2005 but went on to enjoy an impressive international career in the following years.

In the summer of 2021, Messi left FC Barcelona to sign for French side Paris Saint-Germain, penning an initial two-year contract with the option of a further year.

Early Career

Lionel Messi (full name: Lionel Andres Messi) was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. He joined his local club, Newell’s Old Boys, youth ranks at the age of six.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: Adidas / Handout)

Messi moved to FC Barcelona in 2001 following a trial in the previous year. His first contract was offered to him on a paper napkin.

He impressed alongside Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique in the FC Barcelona youth team.

While the aforementioned pair moved to the Premier League, Messi turned down an approach from Arsenal.

FC Barcelona

(2004-2008)

At the age of 17 years, three months, and 22 days old, Messi made his La Liga debut against Espanyol in October 2004.

He went on to make a further nine appearances and racked up 77 minutes of first-team football in their remaining games of the 2004-05 season.

Messi scored his first senior FC Barcelona goal against Albacete in May 2005 as the La Liga outfit won the title.

He signed a five-year contract with the Catalan side on 24 June 2005. Following a £150m offer from Inter Milan, Messi committed his future to FC Barcelona until 2014.

Lionel established himself as a regular on the right wing of a front three of Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o, wearing the number 19 shirt.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: @leomessi / Instagram)

He scored an impressive eight goals in 25 games before he tore his hamstring in the Champions League round of 16 against Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge.

Messi missed FC Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Arsenal in the Champions League final in Paris in 2006. And he still won the Spanish top flight title for the second successive season.

FC Barcelona struggled in the 2006-07 season but Messi continued to underline his rising status. Leo netted 17 times in 32 games in all competitions.

The Catalan side lost to Liverpool FC in the Champions League to end their defence. FC Barcelona were unable to win a third successive La Liga crown.

In Rijkard’s final season in charge at Camp Nou, Messi was one of the only positives but his season was hampered by persistent injury problems in the second half of the 2007-08. FC Barcelona finished without any silverware, leading to Pep Guardiola’s appointment.

2008-2012

Messi managed to stay injury-free throughout the 2008-09 season under Guardiola.

The Argentina international scored 38 goals in 51 games in all competitions to help FC Barcelona win the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

Arguably his best performance of the season came when he scored twice in a 6-2 win against Real Madrid at The Bernabeu in El Clasico in May 2009.

Messi netted in FC Barcelona’s victories over Athletic Bilbao and Manchester United in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League finals.

His salary was increased to €12m and his contract extended until 2016 ahead of the 2009-10 campaign.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: @leomessi / Instagram)

Messi won the Spanish Super Cup, the Uefa Super Cup and the World Club Cup in the opening half of the season before he etched his name onto the Ballon d’Or for the first time.

Guardiola opted to deploy Messi in a false nine role in the middle of the season. It was a move that proved a masterstroke as Messi netted a staggering 47 goals in all competitions.

FC Barcelona won the La Liga title and the Copa del Rey but lost to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan team in the Champions League semi-final.

Messi got his revenge on Mourinho in 2010-11’s first El Clasico as the South American netted a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Real Madrid at Camp Nou.

In a season that contained a staggering five El Clasicos, Leo scored a brilliant solo goal in the first leg of their aggregate win over Real Madrid to reach the Champions League final.

Messi was named man of the match after he scored FC Barcelona’s third goal in a 3-1 win over Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley. The Catalan side also won their third successive La Liga crown.

Lionel finished the season with an incredible 53 goals and 24 assists in all competitions.

In Guardiola’s final season in charge, Messi and his FC Barcelona team-mates finished behind Real Madrid in the title race. He missed a penalty in a loss to Chelsea FC in the Champions League semi-finals.

However, Pep Guardiola signed off with a Copa del Rey triumph.

2012-14

Messi succumbed to persistent injuries in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: @leomessi / Instagram)

Remarkably, he still managed to win the European golden shoe in successive seasons following a staggering return of 60 goals.

Under former Newell’s Old Boys boss Gerard Martino, Messi struggled to remain fit.

He didn’t win the Ballon d’Or for the first time in four years after the FC Barcelona star finished behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, he did become FC Barcelona’s record goal-scorer when he netted his 370th goal against Osasuna on 16 March 2014.

Messi ended the season without silverware after losing to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final before Atletico Madrid beat FC Barcelona to the La Liga title on the final day of the domestic campaign.

2014-17

FC Barcelona revamped their starting line-up with the addition of Luis Suarez to complement Messi and Neymar in July 2014.

Under club legend Luis Enrique, Messi fired FC Barcelona to their second treble in six seasons.

Lionel became La Liga’s all-time record goal-scorer when he netted his 252nd goal against Sevilla in November 2014.

Alongside Neymar and Suarez, Messi scored 58 times and the trio contributed a record 122 goals as FC Barcelona won the La Liga title.

Messi scored twice in their victory over Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final before he played a key role in their 3-1 win against Juventus in the Champions League final.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: @leomessi / Instagram)

Leo suffered a serious knee problem at the start of the 2015-16 season and didn’t return until November. He helped FC Barcelona beat River Plate to win the Fifa Club World Cup.

His 500th FC Barcelona appearance came in a 4-0 win over Real Betis. In January 2016, Lionel got his hands on his fifth Ballon d’Or trophy.

The Catalan side won the Copa del Rey crown with a 2-0 extra-time win over Sevilla. However, FC Barcelona were unable to retain their Champions League title.

He finished the season with 41 goals and 23 assists in the 2015-16 season.

Lionel was in prolific form in the 2016-17 campaign.

He netted his 37th Champions League hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

Messi’s 500th goal for FC Barcelona came in a stoppage time win over Real Madrid on 23 April 2017.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: Adidas / Handout)

Leo and his team-mates won the Copa del Rey title thanks to a 3-1 win against Alaves.

2017-18

FC Barcelona managed to reaffirm their title credentials under new manager Ernesto Valverde.

Messi scored twice in a 3-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League in September 2017.

He surpassed Carles Puyol as FC Barcelona’s third-highest appearance maker when Messi made the 594th game for the Catalan side.

His 600th appearance in FC Barcelona colours came in a 3-0 win against Levante in November.

The records continued to tumble when he scored his 600th club goal before taking his tally to 100 goals in the Champions League.

Move To Paris Saint-Germain

Messi became a free agent in July 2021 after his contract at FC Barcelona was allowed to expire. Negotiations about a new contract at Camp Nou were complicated by financial issues at FC Barcelona.

After much speculation, Messi announced at a tearful news conference that he would be leaving FC Barcelona.

On 10 August 2021, Messi officially joined French club Paris Saint-Germain. He scored his first goal for the Ligue 1 side on 28 September 2021, netting in the 2–0 Champions League group stage win over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

International Career

Messi made his Argentina debut as a second-half substitute against Hungary in August 2005. However, he lasted two minutes before he was sent off for a foul.

Lionel lost his first Copa America final to Brazil in 2007. Twelve months later, Messi won Olympic Gold with Argentina in Beijing.

He struggled to shine at the 2010 World Cup under Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: @leomessi / Instagram)

Messi and Argentina crashed out of the Copa America in the quarter-finals against Uruguay on home soil.

The 2014 World Cup Final And Beyond

Messi, who was captaining the Argentina team, scored in a 2-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opening group-stage fixture.

He was required to net an injury-time goal in a 1-0 win over Iran in their second fixture before Messi netted twice in a 3-2 victory over Nigeria in their final group game.

The FC Barcelona star created their winner in a 1-0 victory over Switzerland in the round of 16. Messi scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 extra-time win against Belgium in the quarter-final.

After a goalless draw with the Netherlands in the last four, Argentina progressed to the final thanks to a penalty shootout win. However, the tournament ended in disappointment after a 1-0 extra-time loss to Germany.

Messi’s international misery was compounded a year later when Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America final. After history repeated itself in the 2016 edition of the tournament, Messi announced his retirement from international football.

However, he reversed his decision to help Argentina qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Lionel netted his first goal of the tournament in a vital 2-1 win against Nigeria.

In 2021, Messi won his first Copa America title when he helped them to claim a 1-0 victory over Brazil in the final on 10 July 2021.

On 10 September 2021, Messi scored a hat-trick in Argentina’s 3-0 win over Bolivia to make him the leading South American men’s goal-scorer in international matches moving him above Brazil legend Pele, who finished his career on 77 international goals in 92 games.

Personal Life And Net Worth

Messi started dating his now wife Antonela Rococo in 2008. The couple have known each other since they were five years old and Antonela is the cousin of Messi’s childhood best friend, Lucas Scaglia,

Lionel Messi Wife

Lionel Messi with his wife Antonela Rococo (Photo: @leomessi / Instagram)

The couple have three sons: Thiago (born 2012), Mateo (born 2015) and Ciro (born 2018).

Lionel and Antonela got married in June 2017 in a luxury hotel called Hotel City Center in their hometown of Rosario.

Although there is no official figure for Lionel Messi’s net worth, Forbes estimate that the footballer is worth around $130m as of 2021.

Of that figure, $97m is estimated to have come from salary and winnings, while the remaining $33m is believed to come from sponsorships and endorsements.

Lionel Messi – Did You Know?

• In 2021, Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time, finishing above Poland striker Robert Lewandowski and Italy midfielder Jorginho.

• Messi has won the Ballon d’Or more than any other player thanks to his triumphs in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Lionel is La Liga’s all-time top goal-scorer, having netted 474 goals in 520 games for FC Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo finished his Real Madrid career with 311 goals in 292 games in La Liga.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo: Adidas / Handout)

• Lionel scored a world-record 91 goals in the calendar year of 2012.

• Messi is the leading South American men’s goal-scorer in international matches.

• Messi was 16 years, four months, and 23 days old when he made his FC Barcelona first-team debut in a friendly against Jose Mourinho’s Porto side. He made two assists and scored two goals.

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