Lionel Andrés Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team.
Messi has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, a record six European Golden Shoes, and was nominated to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020.
Until his departure in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, where he won a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey titles, and 4 UEFA Champions League titles.
He helped Argentina win Copa America in 2021 and the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Messi is a prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker who holds the records for most goals (474) in La Liga, most hat-tricks (36) in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League (eight), and most assists (192) in La Liga and the Copa América (17).
In addition, he has the most international goals of any South American male (98).
Messi has over 795 senior career goals for club and country, the most by a single player for a single club (672).
Early life and Education
Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, as the third of four children to Jorge Messi, a steel factory manager, and his wife, Celia Cuccittini, a magnet manufacturing workshop worker.
At the age of four, he joined local club Grandoli, where he was coached by his father.
But his maternal grandmother, Celia, who accompanied him to training and tournaments, was his earliest influence as a player.
He was deeply saddened by her death, which occurred just before his eleventh birthday.
Ever since he has celebrated his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky as a tribute to his grandmother.
Messi joined Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario when he was six years old.
Throughout his six years with Newell’s, he scored almost 500 goals and regularly entertained crowds by performing ball tricks during half-time of home games for the first team.
Unfortunately, his professional career was threatened when he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 10.
This was a condition that stunted growth and required expensive medical treatment.
He was scouted by Buenos Aires club River Plate but refused to pay for his medical treatment.
However, In September, 200, Messi was given a trial with Barcelona, and first team director Charly Rexach was impressed and immediately offered Messi a contract (written on a napkin) that included paying for Messi’s treatment in Spain.
In February 2001, Messi relocated to Barcelona with his father and joined the famed FC Barcelona youth academy, La Masia.
After completing his growth hormone treatment aged 14, Messi became an integral part of the “Baby Dream Team”, Barcelona’s greatest-ever youth side.
Club Career ( Barcelona & PSG)
During the 2003-04 season, Messi rapidly progressed through the club’s ranks, and at 16 years, four months, and 23 days old, he made his first team debut in the 75th minute of a friendly against José Mourinho’s Porto on November 16, 2003.
Messi signed his first contract as a first team player on June 24, his 18th birthday. It made him a Barcelona player until 2010.
At the age of 22, Messi helped Barcelona win the first treble (UCL, La Liga & Copa del Rey) in Spanish football history in 2008-09.
Three successful seasons followed, with Messi becoming the first player to win the Ballon d’Or four times in a row.
During the 2011-12 season, he set La Liga and European records for most goals scored in a single season (91), establishing himself as Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer.
He led Barcelona to a historic second treble, for which he was awarded a fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015.
Messi was named Barcelona captain in 2018, and he won a record sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019.
He signed with Paris Saint-Germain in August 2021, when his contract expired.
He agreed to a two-year long-term deal until June 2023, with an option for an additional year.
Messi chose 30 as his squad number, the same number he wore when he made his senior debut for Barcelona as a teenager.
Messi made his debut for the club as a substitute on August 29.
International Career (Argentina)
Messi is Argentina’s all-time leading scorer and also holds the national appearance record.
At the youth level, he won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, winning both the Golden Ball and the Golden Shoe, as well as an Olympic gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Messi made his senior debut in August 2005, becoming the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup (2006).
From August 2011, as captain, he led Argentina to three consecutive finals: the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball, the 2015 Copa América, also for which he won the Golden Ball, and the 2016 Copa América.
After announcing his retirement from international football in 2016.
He reversed his decision and led his country to qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, third place in the 2019 Copa América, and victory in the 2021 Copa América, winning the Golden Ball and Golden Boot for the latter.
Messi received the record-breaking seventh Ballon d’Or in 2021 for this achievement.
In 2022, he led Argentina to victory in the FIFA World Cup.
He won a record second Golden Ball, became the first player to score in every stage of a World Cup (including two in the final), and broke the record for most World Cup appearances with 26.
In February 2020, he was awarded the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, making him the first footballer and the first team-sport athlete to win the award.
Messi has been dating Antonela Roccuzzo, a Rosario native, since 2008.
He has known Roccuzzo since he was five years old.
Messi first confirmed their relationship in an interview in January 2009, after keeping their relationship secret for a year.
Messi and Roccuzzo have three sons: Thiago (born in 2012), Mateo (born in 2015), and Ciro (born in 2018).
He married Roccuzzo on June 30, 2017, at Hotel City Center in Rosario.