Lionel Andrés Messi was born on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. His father Jorge was a steel factory manager and his mother Celia was a part-time cleaner. Messi grew up with two older brothers Rodrigo and Matías and a sister Maria.
At a young age, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. This medical condition affected his height and ability to play sports. However, at age 9, Messi started growth hormone injections to combat this.
Childhood Home and Family
Messi came from a close football-loving family. His family’s tiny home was located on the streets of a middle-class neighborhood. Football was a centerpiece of Messi’s life and his talent was visible from an early age.
His grandma, mother and siblings offered unconditional support for Messi’s football dreams. Especially influential was his grandmother, who accompanied a young Messi to games and practice. She was one of his earliest believers.
Table: Messi’s Immediate Family Members
|Maria Sol Messi
Early Football Career
Messi was an exceptional talent, even at a young age. Not surprisingly, he quickly accelerated through the junior squads of Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario.
Newell’s Old Boys
At age 8, Messi joined local club Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario. During the six years he played for Newells, Messi scored almost 500 goals as a member of “The Machine of ’87” – the near-unbeatable 1987 generation of youth players.
The Machine of ’87
The Machine of ‘87 were a supremely talented group of young footballers at Newell’s Old Boys, including Lionel Messi. Messi and teammates often outmatched older players, leading to speculation they had been cheating by using overage players. Opponents began asking to see their identification cards before matches. However, the team’s prowess was quickly proven as entirely legitimate.
Messi stood out for his dexterity and intelligence on the ball. According to teammates, he also had an early tendency toward spectacular goals. Over 30 years later, many members of the Machine of ‘87 continue following Messi’s journey from Argentina to global stardom.
Early Signs of Greatness
By age 10, scouts across Argentina were buzzing about Messi’s extraordinary natural ability. At a young age, his trademark ability to dribble past opponents with ease had emerged. He oozed mastery of the ball and showed unusual poise under pressure.
In one telling display at age 10, Messi scored 4 goals in a victory over a team largely comprised of 13-year olds. The clean manner he took opponents on left mouths wide open on the sidelines. Already, signs were there that Messi was destined for greatness in the beautiful game.
Move to Barcelona & La Masia
After a prolifically successful youth career in Rosario, a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency threatened Messi’s hopes at age 11. This involved expensive medical treatment far out of reach for the Messi family’s modest means.
FC Barcelona, drawn to Messi’s raw talent, offered to fund medical treatment if the family was willing to uproot and move to Spain. Messi and his father agreed, marking the commencement of Messi’s journey to global stardom. However, at the start, success was far from given for young Lionel.
Table: Messi’s Youth Football Career
|Newell’s Old Boys
|Scored almost 500 goals
|10 La Liga titles & 4 Champions League wins
Life in La Masia Youth Academy
In February 2001, Lionel Messi began training with Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia youth academy. However, his early days at La Masia were profoundly difficult, both professionally and personally.
At age 13, Messi encountered severe homesickness after moving with his father to a foreign country. On the field, his diminutive stature led to skepticism from coaches and friction with teammates as the new kid. The first six months were intensely challenging for Messi and at times he came close to packing up.
However, the immense talent was too obvious to give up on. Over time, Messi gradually overcame adversity through sheer ability and will. By age 15, he progressed to train with Barca’s U16 squad – on the road to greatness wearing Blaugrana.
Support from Family and Coaches
While struggles abounded for Messi as a young teen in Barcelona, he credits the unwavering support of family and certain coaches for helping him pull through during challenging times.
In particular, Messi has highlighted the immense influence of his youth coach Rodolfo Borrell in teaching him positioning, tactical awareness and schemes to best leverage his abilities. Family letters and late-night phone calls kept his spirits up when sadness took hold. Gradually, with key support and leverage of his natural abilities, Messi adjusted to life away from home.
Early Seasons with Barcelona (2004-2006)
After shining in junior ranks, Messi signed his first senior contract with Barcelona in 2003, aged 16. The next year, he began training daily with Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto’o and star-studded company under manager Frank Rijkaard. This marked a pivotal moment – Messi practicing against global icons who he admired greatly as a promising teenager.
On October 16, 2004, his rapid rise was realized in becoming the youngest player ever to score a league goal for Barca at 17 years, 114 days old. This proved the start of an historic career donning the Blaugrana that continues in the present day.
Footballing Education from Ronaldinho
During his early time with Barca’s first team, Messi connected deeply with Brazilian star Ronaldinho who took the teenage prodigy under his wing. Ronaldinho invited Messi over for weekly barbeques and gave him football tutorials on the training ground.
His joyful style and inventive skillset rubbed off on Messi. Much of the quick footwork, feints and vision that are Messi’s trademarks today stem from hours practicing tricks alongside childhood idol Ronaldinho.
Becoming Youngest to Play for Barcelona in Champions League
On 7 December 2005, Messi etched his name further into Barcelona history by stepping onto the field against Shakhtar Donetsk. At 18 years and 114 days, he became the youngest ever player to feature for Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
This taste of elite European competition marked another milestone for the young star transforming from prospect to foundational piece at one of football’s most prestigious clubs.
Era of Success and First Ballon D’or (2006-2010)
From 2008-2012 at Barcelona, Messi was part of the ultra lethal attacking trio dubbed “MSN” alongside Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry. The three combined supernova talent and brought enormous success to Barcelona.
Quickly, Messi’s phenomenal abilities paired with scintillating veterans Eto’o and Henry vaulted Barcelona into the class of elite European clubs. This was the first taste of extremely bright lights for Messi – but far from the last.
La Liga and Champions League Wins
With the MSN partnership leading attacks, Barcelona captured an astounding number of trophies during this era:
Table: Barcelona Trophies with MSN Attack
|La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup
|La Liga, Spanish Super Cup
First Ballon D’or at Age 22
After the treble winning campaign in 2008-2009, Messi earned his first Ballon d’Or at just 22 years old. Voters recognized the divine talent taking matches over alongside lifting Barcelona to the peak of club football.
Many all-time greats don’t receive such recognition until late in their careers. But remarkably, this marked just the beginning of Messi capturing sports highest individual honor.
Sustained Dominance in Spain and Europe (2011-2014)
From 2011 to 2014, Messi played arguably the peak football of his storied career at FC Barcelona. He refined his game to well-rounded mastery – scoring, passing and dribbling at levels untouched in football. Barcelona, powered by a ruthless Messi, demonstrated utter domination of La Liga.
Here is the completion of the article on Lionel Messi’s biography:
Barcelona, with Messi leading the charge, commandeered La Liga with previously unseen consistency. They embodied both flashy attacking brilliance and stoic title-winning consistency during these years.
Pioneering False 9 Role
In the 2011-2012 season, manager Pep Guardiola deployed Messi in the false 9 role at the head of Barcelona’s attack. Given freedom to roam and create, this was an ideal tactical home to harness Messi’s supreme dribbling, playmaking and scoring abilities.
Messi pioneered the false 9 position over the next few seasons. The role allows wide forwards to penetrate inside channels as Messi drops deeper to link play. Today the false 9 is a staple of modern football, used by managers to leverage multidimensional forwards like Messi who can score and create.
UEFA Champions League Glory
Beyond rewriting La Liga record books between 2011-2014, Lionel Messi also reached the pinnacle of club football in Europe by winning two UEFA Champions League titles with FC Barcelona.
In both 2009 and 2011, Messi was instrumental in Barca’s conquests over Manchester United in Rome and London to claim European club football’s most prestigious honor. His mesmeric dribbling strikes cut open United’s defense on both occasions, leaving defenders spellbound.
These Champions League winning moments marked early, immortal achievements that Messi has continued building on since. Even amongst a world-class squad, Messi’s centrality in these victories was undeniable.
Sustained Brilliance Year After Year
Between 2011-2014 Lionel Messi maintained utterly astounding levels of goalscoring and chance creation year after year. His 91 goals in 2012 across all competitions may go down as the single greatest calendar year season by any player – ever. This sustained outlier production spearheaded one of the most successful eras in FC Barcelona’s decorated history.
Transition After Guardiola (2014-2017)
After manager Pep Guardiola stepped down in 2012, Messi experienced a difficult transition period both professionally and personally from 2014-2017 at FC Barcelona. Suddenly without mentor Guardiola, recurring injuries surfaced that slowed Messi’s formerly relentless production for the first time.
However, resilient as ever, Messi overcame adversity to lift Barcelona once more to Champions League glory in 2015 under manager Luis Enrique. Behind Messi’s vision and ingenuity unlocking spaces, Barcelona defeated Juventus 3-1 in Berlin to claim the crown yet again in Europe.
National Team Retirement & Return
Frustrated by losing three consecutive international finals from 2014-2016, Messi temporarily retired from Argentina’s national team after the 2016 Copa America loss. Saying the cultural criticism was too painful after coming so close, Messi stepped away before having a change of heart months later.
After supporters practically revolted in the streets pleading for his return, Messi rejoined Argentina for their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifications. Back representing his homeland, Messi had led Argentina to the global stage once more, though glory frustratingly still eludes him in national team colors.
Twilight Years in Barcelona (2017-2021)
When Manager Ernesto Valverde arrived at Camp Nou in 2017, Messi regained his stratospheric best form as Barcelona followed suit. They recaptured La Liga in 2018 and 2019 largely off the back of Messi’s continued weekly magnificence.
Now a senior squad leader mentoring next generation talents like Ousmane Dembele, Messi gracefully embraced his elder statesman role while maintaining outrageous productivity.
He claimed two additional Pichichi trophies as La Liga’s leading scorer and his 6th and 7th Ballon d’Or crowns in 2019 and 2021 amidst sustained individual stranglehold of world football.
Painful UCL Exits
However, Champions League success frustratingly remained out of reach for Messi and Barcelona in the late 2010s. After doubling their advantage against Roma in 2018 quarterfinals, Barcelona suffered a shocking upset loss to crash out of Europe unexpectedly.
The next year brought a sorrow four times as painful, when Liverpool’s Anfield miracle knocked Barcelona out after they led the tie 3-0 from the home leg.
The anguish was visible on Messi as Barcelona repeatedly fell short of the coveted European crown that brings glory back to Catalunya. Exits from club football’s biggest stage continued cutting deep.
Emotional Barcelona Exit & Move to PSG (2021)
After economic conditions deteriorated in Barcelona, the club could not renew Messi’s contract without severe financial losses in 2021. Tearfully, Messi announced his departure from FC Barcelona on August 8th, 2021, bringing an end to 21 years wearing Blaugrana colors for club many believed he would never leave.
While Messi received interest from top clubs including Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain ultimately signed the living legend to add more firepower upfront alongside Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. At 34 years old, Messi took on the latest challenge while turning another page entering the twilight of his magnificent career.
Lionel Messi’s footballing legacy continues taking shape as he seeks elusive World Cup glory in the latest chapter with Argentina and PSG. With 10 La Liga titles, 7 Ballon d’Or crowns and 4 Champions League trophies to his name, Messi’s otherworldly career befits the “G.O.A.T” title he has surely claimed.
The only piece missing is winning football’s ultimate prize at the World Cup. However, regardless of that last remaining feat, Messi’s magical displays over the past 15 years have already left an indelible impact on football. With silk and steel, he has brought artistry and championships galore in a career for the ages.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Messi’s Career
What is Lionel Messi’s playing style?
Messi’s game blend flair & function to maximum effect. His style blooms from swift movements and imaginative attacking plays. Trademark Messi consists of blinding runs, mazy solo goals and killer through passes – all executed with grace and precision.
How many Ballon d’Or Awards has Lionel Messi won?
Messi has won a record seven Ballon d’Or trophies, awarded yearly to football’s most outstanding player globally (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021).
How many career trophies has Lionel Messi won?
Across his club and international career since 2004, Lionel Messi has won 39 trophies. His major title haul includes 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa Del Rey triumphs, 7 Spanish Super Cup victories, 4 UEFA Champions Leagues, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 3 FIFA Club World Cups and 1 Olympic Gold Medal.
What makes Lionel Messi such a great footballer?
A rare cocktail of outrageous natural talent, world-class technique, creative audacity, intelligent movement and ruthless scoring production sets Lionel Messi apart among football’s greats during his era.
What teams has Messi played for?
Messi began his youth career at Newell’s Old Boys from 1995-2000 before joining Barcelona’s La Masia academy in 2001, then debuting with Barca’s senior team in 2004. After 17 years with Barcelona’s first team, he signed with Paris Saint-Germain in August 2021, his current club.