Lionel Andres Messi is an Argentina international footballer currently featuring for the Spanish and European giants FC Barcelona. Messi is frequently considered as the greatest talent to have emerged in the sport of football after Diego Armando Maradona and is one of the best footballers on the player. In 2010 he won the first ever FIFA Ballon d’Or award to follow up up his Ballon d’Or award from 2009, and won the award again in 2011 and 2012.
Messi was born in the Argentine city of Rosario and was soon snapped up by Newell’s Old Boys. At the age of 11, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency that impeded him from growing.
Newell’s were unable to afford the money required for the treatment of this disease which was about 500 pounds per month. Then Barcelona came calling. Not only did they look after Lionel Messi’s problems, they also found work for his family in Barcelona and so came Messi to Spain.
Messi made his official debut for the Blaugrana against Espanyol on October 16, 2004. He quickly progressed in the Barcelona first team and won the World Youth Championship with Argentina in 2005 and was adjudged as the best player in the competition.
From 2005-2006 season onwards, the Argentine wonderkid began to exhibit his class and quality. He threaded his way into the starting line-up that consisted of the likes of Ronaldinho, Xavi, Deco and Samuel Eto’o among others and quickly became one of the most popular and most significant members of the club.
He won La Liga title with Barcelona in the 2005-2006 season and was one of the best players in the UEFA Champions League that season. Barca actually won the coveted silverware that season. Messi played for Argentina in the 2006 Germany World Cup and in the 2007 Copa America.
Lionel Messi scored one of the best goals of all time agaist Getafe in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie in the 2006-2007 season. He dribbled around a host of players and scored in almost exactly the same way that El Diego had scored his second goal against England in the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup.
Messi became stronger and stronger as the years progressed and in 2008-09 emerged as the undisputed best player in the world as he led Barcelona to a historic treble - La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. He scored 23 goals in the league and gave 11 assists. He also netted nine times in the Champions League, including one in the final against Manchester United, and provided five assists,
Messi regained fitness under Pep Guardiola’s regime and had yet another phenomenal season in 2009-10, scoring 34 goals and providing 10 assists in the league besides finding the net eight times in the Champions League. In 2011 he led Barca to La Liga triumph again as well as the Champions League, and helped the Blaugrana win the Copa del Rey in the following season.
Messi, though, failed to perform at his best for Argentina in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa in the summer but recovered his form ahead of the 2010-11 campaign and is once again playing at his best week in week out.
Messi has consistently impressed with his intricate dribbling, sudden burst of pace, sharp shooting and humility. The 25-year-old’s talent and ability to keep his head down have made him one of most likable players on the planet.
Lionel Messi’s major personal achievements include:
- FIFA Ballon d’Or: 2010, 2011, 2012
- Ballon d’Or: 2009
- Golden Ball: FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2005
- Golden Boot: FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2005
- Golden Boy: 2005
- World Soccer Young Player of the Year: 2006, 2007
- Olimpia de Plata: Argentinian Player of the Year: 2005
- FIFPro World Young Player of the Year: 2006
- FIFPro World XI: 2007
- Best foreign player in La Liga: 2007
- France Football Player of the Year: 3rd place: 2007
- World Soccer Footballer of the Year: 2nd place: 2007
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 2nd place: 2007