Before 2003, the footballing world was in the era of several talented football stars taking turns to lead the race as the best in the round leather game, but out of the blues came a certain wonder-boy from Argentina, who staged a super-blazing entry onto the world-stage. From then, he went on to become one of the best footballers in soccer history.
Born on June 24, 1987 to a modest family in Rosario, Argentina, Lionel Messi started football at a tender age of six with Newell’s Old Boys, a club he still supports. He scored about 500 goals for the local side during his stay, attracting accolades and attention from several clubs in Argentina.
However, his future as a professional footballer was threatened due to an hormone deficiency which is father’s health insurances could not cover more than two years. His old club, Newell and River Plate made intentions to contribute to the teenager’s treatment, having seen his brillance at such a tender age. They could not keep their promise due to the economic hardship in the South American nation at that time. However, Messi continued to prove his quality despite his medical troubles, churning out impressive displays to attract everyone that cared about the round leather game.
Mother luck soon smiled on Messi and his family when his relatives in Catalonia made an arrangement with the then Barcelona director, Charly Rexach, who agreed to sign the wonderkid (on a paper napkin) in 2000. At early stages of his move to Barca, Messi suffered homesickness but soon shrugged it off to become one of the best footballers ever to grace the field of play. Messi got offers to leave his benefactors (Barcelona) when the likes of Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas left for the Premier League. Messi, instead never stopped loving Barca and still continues to be their best man for all occasions.
Apart from his brilliance of the pitch, Lionel Messi has shown how to be a team-player on countless occasions, carrying Barcelona on his shoulders to several trophies and proving his worth many times.
Unlike many football stars, Messi’s humility and selflessness for his teammates is above par.
Lionel Messi’s Individual awards:
Ballon d’Or/FIFA Ballon d’Or: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
European Golden Shoe: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017
FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 2014
FIFA World Player of the Year: 2009
UEFA Best Player in Europe: 2011, 2015
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2009
UEFA Club Forward of the Year: 2009
Best Player in La Liga: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
Best Forward in La Liga: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball: 2009, 2011
FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball: 2015
FIFA Club World Cup Final Most Valuable Player: 2009, 2011
FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball: 2005
FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Shoe: 2005
Olimpia de Oro (Argentine Sportsperson of the Year): 2011
Olimpia de Plata (Argentine Footballer of the Year): 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
Copa América Best Young Player: 2007
FIFPro Young World Player of the Year: 2006, 2007, 2008
Golden Boy (Young European Footballer of the Year): 2005
IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker: 2015, 2016
IFFHS World’s Best Top Goalscorer: 2011, 2012
IFFHS World’s Best Top Division Goalscorer: 2012, 2013
La Liga Player of the Month: January 2016, April 2017
Trofeo Aldo Rovira: 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15
FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
UEFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
La Liga Team of the Season: 2014–15, 2015–16
FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2014
Copa América Dream Team: 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016
UEFA Goal of the Season: 2006–07, 2014–15, 2015–16
Copa América Best Goal: 2007