Lionel Messi Biography: Barcelona, Argentina Football Star

Born June 24th, 1987 in Argentina, Lionel Messi developed a hormone deficiency in his youth that stunted his growth. Despite this, he proved to be a phenomenal football player – so good, he caught the eye of Barcelona FC. They offered to pay his pricey medical bills and gave him a spot on the team when he was just 13. After advancing through the youth levels, it was only a matter of time before he became a superstar: he regularly scores hat tricks in matches, and wins almost every award going. And he’s just getting started. In this video, WatchMojo.com learns more about the life and career of Lionel Messi.
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Biography of Lionel Messi


He’s called “The Flea” because he’s just that fast. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be learning more about the life and career of Leo Messi.

Early Years


Lionel Andrés Messi was born June 24th, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. Despite a hormone deficiency that stunted his growth, Messi excelled at football. His family relocated to Spain after he was offered a spot on FC Barcelona’s youth team and payment of his medical bills at age 13.

First Years with Barcelona


Messi quickly excelled through the youth levels. He made his debut for Barça C at 16 in 2003, and thanks to key injuries, he started with Barça B the next year. His first appearance with the big club also came in 2004 at age 17.

2005 FIFA World Youth Championship


On May 1st, 2005, Messi became the youngest club player to score for Barcelona in a La Liga game, though that record was later broken. He also helped Argentina win the FIFA World Youth Championship, and was named the tournament’s best player. This cemented his place as one of the game’s most talented up-and-comers.

Comparisons to Maradona


Due to his small five-foot-seven frame, his intense speed and ferocity, Messi was compared to fellow Argentine football star, Diego Maradona. However, the left-footed Messi was not only a goal scorer: he also posted assists, and played in a non-flashy style.

Breakthrough Season


The 2005-2006 season was a breakthrough year: Messi earned a contract extension until 2014 and got a raise in salary. After an impressive first half of the season, he was sidelined by injury; however the team did win La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Messi also returned in time to represent Argentina at the 2006 World Cup.

More Similarities to Maradona


The next year, he was a team regular. Messi’s similarities to Maradona continued when he mimicked his “Goal of the Century” in April 2007 and later his controversial “Hand of God” goal. Messi finished the year with 14 goals in 26 matches, and played for second-place-finishers Argentina at the 2007 Copa América.

Injury


By 2007-2008, he was a star; but another muscle tear kept him away from the pitch for part of that season.

2008 Olympics


The next season he was back and better than ever: he helped Argentina win an Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing, and had a strong, healthy season with Barcelona where he filled the void left by his departed teammate Ronaldinho.

UEFA Club Footballer of the Year


In 2008-2009, he posted 38 goals in 51 games, and led Barcelona to their first ever treble: they took the Copa del Rey, La Liga and the Champions League. Messi also won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award.

FIFA World Player of the Year


Messi didn’t slow down: he led Barcelona to a 2009 FIFA Club World Cup win and was the highest-scoring player of 2009-2010. He was also one of the highest-paid players: a contract extension net him approximately $18 million per year. In 2009, Messi overtook Cristiano Ronaldo to win both the Ballon D’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Four Goals in One Game


Messi’s domination continued on April 6th, 2010, when he scored four goals in one game against Arsenal. He was later named La Liga player of the year, and joined Argentina at the World Cup, but they were eliminated early.

Another Ballon D’Or


After a strong start the next season, Messi was taken down by a brutal tackle in September 2010, but recovered to go on a scoring rampage. He won the Ballon D’Or again in 2010, and helped Barça win La Liga and the European Cup in 2011.

UEFA Best Player in Europe


At the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup Final, Barcelona beat Santos FC and Messi was named Man of the Match. He also became the second player ever to be awarded the Ballon D’Or for three consecutive years, won his third straight Onze d’Or, and was the first ever UEFA Best Player in Europe.

Five Goals in One Game


On March 7th, 2012, Messi became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League game. Soon after, he bested César Rodríguez’s record of 232 goals to become the highest-scoring Barcelona player ever.

Legacy


Not only is Lionel Messi one of the world’s highest-paid football players, and the owner of countless records, he is also involved with charitable organizations and will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest there ever was.
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