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Lionel Messi is considered as the greatest soccer player today. He is not only a modern legend, but is also counted among the best of all time. Messi has a huge number of awards and records that speak volumes about his skills, but the real proof of his talent is on the field, where he plays to tell the world what an incredible footballer he is.
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Messi is known for nothing but his football skills, and it seems that the man likes to stay low and get known for nothing but football. He may not be the most expensive transfer, the wealthiest athlete, the most handsome celebrity, or a player with many talents, but Messi is a great footballer, and he means business.
Messi spent the early part of his career at Newell’s Old Boys club, based in Rosario, Santa Fey. He played here from 1994 to 2000. Messi joined the team at a tender age of six, and remained a part of the club for six years. During that time, he scored an around 500 goals, as part of the almost-unbeatable youth group, “The Machine of ’87”, which got its name from the year of Messi’s birth. Messi used to entertain the crowds with ball tricks in the half-time of the home games of his team. At 10, when Messi was diagnosed with a deficiency of growth hormone, the club offered to help pay for his treatment, but later withdrew their commitment.
He was also hunted by River Plate of Buenos Aires, but they, too, failed to pay for his treatment. Messi’s family in Catalonia arranged a trial for him at Barcelona in 2000, and he joined the team in 2001, after much discussion amidst the team authorities. Although there were problems with the team after his transfer to Barcelona, Newell let go of their grievances by 2012, and embraced their long-ter relationship with the player. In fact, they even issued a membership to Messi’s child within 72 hours of his birth. Messi has plans to make a return to end his soccer career at Newell’s some day.
Messi’s relatives in Catalonia helped him reach a trial with Barcelona in 2000, after which, Charly Rexach, the first team director, was so impressed that he wanted Messi. But it was not common back then to bring American players into Europe at such a young age, and the board of the team hesitated. In December, that year, Rexach offered contract to Messi on a paper napkin, because no other paper was available hand: he was that desperate to prove that Barca was committed to him. In 2001, Messi finally joined Camp Nou. In his first year, he hardly got to play, because of the transfer disputes. He only took part in friendly matches and in the Catalan league. This made him struggle to be a part of the team.
After spending a year at the youth team of Barca, i.e. La Masia finally joined the RFEF i.e. Royal Spanish Football Federation in February 2002. He underwent his treatment, and became part of Barca’s best youth tea, the Baby Dream Team. In his first full time season in 2002, he became the highest scorer Cadetes A with 36 goals in 30 matches. He defeated a severe face injury and continued his displays in the season, and at the end of it, he got approached by Arsenal, but he stayed in Barcelona, and has been the backbone of the team ever since. He has performed immensely well for the team, and has set many records.
Messi has helped his team lift several trophies, including:
Moving to Spain to play for Barcelona gave Messi a dual citizenship and chance to play for both Argentina and Spain. However, Messi chose to play for Argentina, even after Spain pursued him after being tipped off about the young player by Rexach. He wanted to pursue his dream of joining Argentina. He became part of the U20 team of Argentina in 2004, and in 2005, he embarked upon his senior career at Argentina. At his national team, Messi is, without a doubt, the most important and dependable player.
From the very first season, he has been compared with Argentina legend Diego Maradona. Mess is the player upon whom the entire squad depends. During his tenure, Argentina has secured the FIFA U-20 World Cup of 2005 and the Olympic Gold Medal in 2008. However, with Messi as part of the team, Argentina has come close to winning several big tournaments, like the FIFA World Youth Championship 2004, the Copa America 2007, the World Cup 2010, etc.
From becoming the youngest player to represent Argentina in World Cup, Messi soon assumed the position of the captain of Argentina. Even as the leader, he has become quite iconic, leading his team close to many titles. In 2016, Messi announced his retirement during the Copa America. This was followed by a campaign to bring him back, as Argentina fans went crazy to bring him back. Thus Messi was compelled to withdraw his retirement plans.
Leo Messi was born in Rosario, Santa Fe. He was keen to play football from an early age, and joined his first club when he was just six. But soon, he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. This could have put a stop to his soccer career. His treatment could only take place after he joined Barcelona. Messi’s family moved to Spain with him in 2001, so that Messi could play for Barcelona. After some time, he had to stay there with just his father, while the rest of his family moved back to Rosario.
Messi felt homesick. He was so quiet and reserved that the rest of the team initially had the idea that he was mute. Eventually, when he became part of the RFEF, he became friends with his teammates, including Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas, who have remained his friends. However, his best friend since his childhood was Lucas Scaglia, another football player, with whom he now has family ties. At 14, he underwent the growth hormone treatment.
Messi has always been very close to his family members. He was born as the third son of Celia Maria Cuccittini and Jorge Horassio Messi. Aside from his two brothers, Rodrigo and Matias, he also has a sister, Maria Sol Messi. Messi’s career-related issues are all handled by his family members. His father has been his agent since Leo was 14, while his brother, Rodrigo, handles his daily schedule, public relations, etc. Matias and his mother handle the charitable organization, Leo Messi Foundation, besides his personal and professional matters in Rosario. Messi has a particularly special bond with his mom, whose face he has tattooed on his left shoulder.
Lionel Messi is married to Antonella Roccuzzo, who is the cousin of his best friend and fellow footballer Lucas Scaglia. The two knew each other since the age of five. However, the two started dating since 2008, and after keeping things private for a year, Messi finally made his relationship public in 2009. They two had two sons before they finally got married in June 2017. Roccuzzo is currently pregnant with their third child.
Messi and Roccuzzo have two sons, Thiago and Mateo. Thiago was born in 2012, and to celebrate Roccuzzo’s first pregnancy, Messi put the ball under his shirt at the end of a match after scoring for Argentina against Ecuador. Messi has his first-born’s name and footprint tattooed on his left calf. Mateo was born in 2015. In October 2017, Roccuzzo announced her third pregnancy with a picture on Instagram, posting it with the title, “Family of Five.”
According to Forbes in 2017, Lionel Messi is the second highest paid soccer player in the world, with an earning of $65 million. This includes his salary of $42 million, and endorsement money of $23 million, from his deals with major brands like Adidas, Samsung, Turkish Airlines Herbalife, etc. While nothing is known for sure, it is believed that Messi earns a salary of £26.5 million a year from Barcelona, as revealed during the recent discussions on how Cristiano Ronaldo has demanded the same amount of money from Real Madrid that Messi draws from Barcelona.
Among the many football players of his time, Messi is mainly compared to Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi and CR7 have become the main representatives of their teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and their rivalry is as big as the age-old Real Madrid vs Barcelona rivalry. They two are considered the best in their time. While Messi is ahead in terms of records, and the two have the same number of Ballon d’Or awards, It is mostly argued that Messi is a player with a better technique, and is pulled back because of his team. Ronaldo, on the other hand, is given greater credit as a showman, and an overall stature as a celebrity. Thereis constant comparison between the two by media, and they maintain a competitive but respectful relationship, as strong professionals. In terms of games, both for their respective clubs and countries, Messi appeared in 740 games, and made 595 goals, with 244 assists. CR7, on the other hand, has 628 goals in 891 games, with 203 assists.
Lionel Messi’s displays have helped him earn many team and individual awards. The most prestigious among them his individual awards is the Ballon d’Or – Messi has earned himself five of this award, making him the player with the highest number of Ballon d’Or awards, along with Cristiano Ronaldo. After his performance in 2017-18, he is lined for his 6th award. Aside from this, his other awards include:
These are only a few of his enormous number of awards. He has earned himself many other awards, and if awards were a proof of the value of a player, Messi’s value would surely be sky high.