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Lionel Messi, in full Lionel Andrés Messi, also called Leo Messi, (born June

24, 1987, Rosario, Argentina), Argentine-born football (soccer) player who was
named Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) world player of
the year five times (2009–12 and 2015).
Messi started playing football as a boy and in 1995 joined the youth team of
Newell’s Old Boys (a Rosario-based top-division football club). Messi’s
phenomenal skills garnered the attention of prestigious clubs on both sides of the
Atlantic. At age 13 Messi and his family relocated to Barcelona, and he began
playing for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team. He scored 21 goals in 14 games for
the junior team, and he quickly graduated through the higher-level teams until
at age 16 he was given his informal debut with FC Barcelona in a friendly match.
In the 2004–05 season Messi, then 17, became the youngest official player and
goal scorer in the Spanish La Liga (the country’s highest division of football).
Though only 5 feet 7 inches (1.7 metres) tall and weighing 148 pounds (67 kg),
he was strong, well-balanced, and versatile on the field. Naturally left-footed,
quick, and precise in control of the ball, Messi was a keen pass distributor and
could readily thread his way through packed defenses. In 2005 he was granted
Spanish citizenship, an honour greeted with mixed feelings by the fiercely Catalan
supporters of Barcelona. The next year Messi and Barcelona won the Champions
League (the European club championship) title.

Messi’s play continued to rapidly improve over the years, and by 2008 he was
one of the most dominant players in the world, finishing second to Manchester
United’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the voting for the 2008 FIFA World Player of the
Year. In early 2009 Messi capped off a spectacular 2008–09 season by helping
FC Barcelona capture the club’s first “treble” (winning three major European club
titles in one season): the team won the La Liga championship, the Copa del Rey
(Spain’s major domestic cup), and the Champions League title. He scored 38
goals in 51 matches during that season, and he bested Ronaldo in the balloting
for FIFA World Player of the Year honours by a record margin. During the 2009–
10 season Messi scored 34 goals in domestic games as Barcelona repeated as La
Liga champions. He earned the Golden Shoe award as Europe’s leading scorer,
and he was named the 2010 world player of the year (the award was renamed
the FIFA Ballon d’Or that year).

Messi led Barcelona to La Liga and Champions League titles the following season,
which helped him capture an unprecedented third consecutive world player of the
year award. In March 2012 he netted his 233rd goal for Barcelona, becoming the
club’s all-time leading scorer in La Liga play when only 24 years old. He finished
Barcelona’s 2011–12 season (which included another Copa del Rey win) with 73
goals in all competitions, breaking Gerd Müller’s 39-year-old record for single-
season goals in a major European football league. His landmark season led to his
being named the 2012 world player of the year, which made Messi the first player
to win the honour four times. His 46 La Liga goals in 2012–13 led the league,
and Barcelona captured another domestic top-division championship that season.
In 2014 he set the overall Barcelona goal record when he scored his 370th goal
as a member of the team. That same year he also broke the career scoring
records for play in both the Champions League (with 72 goals) and La Liga (with
253 goals). Messi helped Barcelona capture another treble during the 2014–15
season, leading the team with 43 goals scored over the course of the campaign,
which resulted in his fifth world player of the year honour. He scored 41 goals
across all competitions for Barcelona in 2015–16, and the club won the La Liga
title and the Copa del Rey during that season. Messi topped that with 53 goals
for Barcelona in 2016–17, leading the team to another Copa del Rey title. In
2017–18 he scored 45 goals, and Barcelona won the La Liga–Copa del Rey double
once again.
Despite his dual citizenship and professional success in Spain, Messi’s ties with
his homeland remained strong, and he was a key member of various Argentine
national teams from 2005. He played on Argentina’s victorious 2005 FIFA World
Youth Championship squad, represented the country in the 2006 World Cup, and
scored two goals in five matches as Argentina swept to the gold medal at
the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Messi helped Argentina reach the 2010 World
Cup quarterfinals, where the team was eliminated by Germany for the second
consecutive time in World Cup play. At the 2014 World Cup, Messi put on a
dazzling display, scoring four goals and almost single-handedly propelling an
offense-deficient Argentina team through the group stage and into the knockout
rounds, where Argentina then advanced to the World Cup final for the first time
in 24 years. Argentina lost that contest 1–0 to Germany, but Messi nevertheless
won the Golden Ball award as the tournament’s best player. During the
2016 Copa América Centenario tournament, he netted his 55th international goal
to break Gabriel Batistuta’s Argentine scoring record. After Argentina was
defeated in the Copa final—the team’s third consecutive finals loss in a major
tournament—Messi said that he was quitting the national team, but his short-
lived “retirement” lasted less than two months before he announced his return
to the Argentine team. At the 2018 World Cup, he helped an overmatched
Argentine side reach the knockout stage, where they were eliminated by eventual
champion France in their first match.

Off the field, Messi was one of the biggest athletic stars in the world. In addition
to earning a football salary that was frequently, with Ronaldo’s, one of the two
largest athletes’ salaries in all professional sports, he was an extremely
successful product pitchman, notably for the sportswear company Adidas. In
2013 Messi and his father (who handled his son’s finances) were charged with
tax fraud and accused of using overseas shell companies to avoid paying €4.2
million in Spanish taxes on endorsement earnings. Despite subsequently paying
€5 million to the Spanish state, the pair were nevertheless ordered to stand trial
on the charges in 2016. In July of that year, Messi and his father were each given
suspended 21-month prison sentences (first-time offenders in Spain are given
suspended sentences if the duration is under two years) and were fined €2 million
and €1.5 million, respectively.

Lionel Messi is an Argentinian footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest


players of the modern generation. He plays for FC Barcelona and the Argentina
national team. He has won FIFA world player of the year four times (a record
already). He has often been described as Diego Maradona’s successor because
of his prolific goal scoring record and ability to dribble past opponents.

“I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his
name is Messi. Messi is a genius, and he can become an even better player.”

His potential is limitless, and I think he’s got everything it takes to become
Argentina’s greatest player.”

– Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi National Team Career


NATIONAL CARRER

The ace footballer has scored 65 goals in 128 appearances for the Argentina
National team. He, however, has failed to extend his successful run with
Barcelona to the La Albiceleste. Though he has always put up a good
performance, every time he leads the La Albiceleste to a tournament, they end
up crashing out in the quarter-final, semi-final or final.

In the 2006 World Cup, Messi who was pretty young was part of the Argentine
squad who were knocked out in the quarter-final. Eight years later, on South-
American soil, Messi led the La Albiceleste to a wonderful run in the world Cup
before seeing his World Cup dream dashed after a late lone strike by their
German opponents. The Copa America tournament has also been the same,
emerging runners-up successively.

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrating after he scored for his team against Bosnia-
Herzegovina during the 2014 FIFA World Cup—15 June, 2014 (Maracana
Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

Lionel Messi Personal Life

Lionel Messi is known to be an introvert as well as a reserved individual.

He began his relationship with his wife who he had known since the age of 5, at
the age of 20. They got married in Rosario, in 2017. They gave birth to their first
son Thiago in 2012, their second Mateo in 2015 and last Ciro in 2018.

Lionel Messi poses in an adorable family photo with his wife and children (Thiago
Messi Roccuzzo (standing behind), Mateo Messi Roccuzzo (sitting on the ball),
Ciro Messi Roccuzzo (sitting on mom’s lap))—9 September 2018. Photo credit:

Messi has a tight-knitted relationship with his mother, Celia whose face he
tattooed on his hand. Messi’s father has been his agent since the age of 14, while
his elder brother manages his daily schedule and publicity, his mother and
brother, Matias runs his charitable organization, The Lionel Messi Foundation.
Since 2010, Messi has been a goodwill ambassador for the UNICEF.

Messi also supports grassroots football. He has an investment with youth football
team Sarmiento, based in Rosario.

Messi has also had his fair share of tax evasion charges. In 2013, he was
investigated for benefiting in a network of offshore companies to evade taxes.
Despite pleading ignorance for the tax evasion charges, Messi was found guilty
of tax evasion along with his father and was sentenced to a suspended 21-month
prison term and fined 1.7 million euros and 1.4 million euros.