Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini born in 24 June 1987, in Rosario, Argentina.
A lifelong supporter of Newell's Old Boys, Messi joined the Rosario club when he was six years old. During the six years he played for Newell's, he scored almost 500 goals as a member of "The Machine of '87", the near-unbeatable youth side named for the year of their birth, and regularly entertained crowds by performing ball tricks during half-time of the first team's home games.
As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona in September 2000. First team director Charly Rexach immediately wanted to sign him, but the board of directors hesitated; at the time it was highly unusual for European clubs to sign foreign players of such a young age.
On 14 December, an ultimatum was issued for Barcelona to prove their commitment, and Rexach, with no other paper at hand, offered a contract on a paper napkin.
In February 2001, the family relocated to Barcelona, where they moved into an apartment near the club's stadium, Camp Nou.
After a year at Barcelona's youth academy, La Masia, Messi was finally enrolled in the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in February 2002.
Selectors for Spain's Under-17 squad began pursuing him in 2003 after Barcelona's director of football, Carles Rexach, alerted the Royal Spanish Football Federation to their young player. Messi declined the offer, having aspired to represent La Albiceleste since childhood.
Made his first appearance against FC Porto.
Messi joined Barcelona C in addition to the Juveniles A, playing his first game for the third team on 29 November.
Messi made his debut for Barcelona B in the Segunda División B.
Messi made his league debut on 16 October, against Espanyol, coming on in the 82nd minute.
Messi scored his first senior goal on 1 May 2005, against Albacete, from an assist by Ronaldinho, becoming – at that time – the youngest-ever scorer for the club.
Due to issues regarding his legal status in the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Messi missed the start of La Liga, but on 26 September, he acquired Spanish citizenship and became eligible to play.
On 24 June 2005, his 18th birthday, Messi signed his first contract as a senior team player. It made him a Barcelona player until 2010, two years less than his previous contract, but his buyout clause increased to €150 million.
On 17 August 2005, Messi had made his debut with Argentina against Hungary.
Messi was in the starting line-up in major matches like his first Clásico against rivals Real Madrid on 19 November. The match ended with a result "3:0" for Barcelona.
First Champions League Leo Messi achieved with FC Barcelona against Arsenal with "2:1".
Messi had joined the first team in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
On 10 March 2007, Messi scored his first hat-trick in a Clásico, the first player to do so in 12 years, equalizing after each goal by Real Madrid to end the match in a 3–3 draw in injury time.
During a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe on 18 April, he scored a goal remarkably similar to Maradona's goal in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, known as the Goal of the Century. Messi collected the ball on the right side near the halfway line, ran 60 metres (66 yd), and beat five defenders before scoring with an angled finish, just as Maradona had done.
In a surprise defeat, Argentina lost the 2007 Copa América final 3–0 to a Brazil squad that lacked several of the nation's best players.
During his first season under Barcelona's new manager, former captain Pep Guardiola, Messi played mainly on the right-wing, like he had under Rijkaard, though this time as a false winger with the freedom to cut inside and roam the center.
After two unsuccessful seasons, Barcelona were in need of an overhaul, leading to the departure of Rijkaard and Ronaldinho. Upon the latter's departure, Messi was given the number 10 shirt. He signed a new contract in July 2008 on an annual salary of €7.8 million, becoming the club's highest-paid player.
Football at the 2008 Summer Olympics was held in Beijing and several other cities in the People's Republic of China from 6 to 23 August. Associations affiliated with FIFA were invited to send their full women's national teams and men's U-23 teams to participate. Men's teams were allowed to augment their squad with three players over the age of 23. Argentina won the tournament.
Despite his injuries early in the year, Messi's performances in 2008 saw him again voted runner-up for the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, both times behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
During that game, played on 28 March 2009 vs Venezuela, Messi wore Argentina's number 10 shirt for the first time, following the international retirement of Riquelme.
During the Clásico on 2 May 2009, however, he played for the first time as a false nine, positioned as a center-forward but dropping deep into midfield to link up with Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. He assisted his side's first goal and scored twice to end the match in an emphatic 6–2 victory, the team's greatest-ever score at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
The 2009 UEFA Champions League Final was played on 27 May 2009 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy.
First Ballon d'Or awarded.
After victories in the Supercopa de España and UEFA Super Cup in August, Barcelona won the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes de La Plata on 19 December, with Messi scoring the winning 2–1 goal with his chest. Achieving six trophies this season.
Lionel Messi was announced as the World Player of the Year with a record points total.
Argentina was eliminated in the quarter-final against Germany, at the same stage of the tournament and by the same opponent as four years earlier. Their 4–0 loss was their worst margin of defeat at a World Cup since 1974.
Assuming a playmaking role, Messi was again instrumental in a Clásico on 29 November 2010, the first with José Mourinho in charge of Real Madrid, as Barcelona defeated their rivals 5–0.
La Masia, the FC Barcelona academy, achieved a record-breaking honor in becoming the first youth academy ever to have all three finalists for the Ballon d'Or in one same year, with Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi. Messi won the award, his second consecutive Ballon d'Or victory.
Messi scored both goals in his side's 2–0 win in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals in Madrid, the second of which – a slaloming dribble past three Real players – was acclaimed as one of the best ever in the competition.
Although he did not score, he was again important in the second-leg draw that sent Barcelona through to the Champions League final.
The 2011 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match played on 28 May 2011 at Wembley Stadium in London that decided the winner of the 2010–11 season of the UEFA Champions League.
The final was contested by Barcelona of Spain and Manchester United of England, the same teams which contested the 2009 final held in Rome which Barcelona won 2–0.
The 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala was the second year for FIFA's awards for the top football players and coaches of the year. The awards were given out in Zürich on 9 January 2012, with Lionel Messi claiming the title of world player of the year for the third time in a row.
On 7 March, Messi scored five goals in a Champions League last 16-round match against Bayer Leverkusen, an unprecedented achievement in the history of the competition.
On 20 March, Messi became the top goalscorer in Barcelona's history at 24 years old, overtaking the 57-year record of César Rodríguez's 232 goals with a hat-trick against Granada.
In Barça's last home league match on 5 May, against Espanyol, Messi scored all four goals before approaching the bench to embrace Guardiola, who had announced his resignation as manager.
A double scored on 9 December against Real Betis saw Messi break two longstanding records: he surpassed César Rodríguez's record of 190 league goals, becoming Barcelona's all-time top scorer in La Liga, and Gerd Müller's record of most goals scored in a calendar year, overtaking his 85 goals scored in 1972 for Bayern Munich and West Germany.
Messi sent Müller a number 10 Barcelona shirt, signed "with respect and admiration", after breaking his 40-year record. At the close of the year, Messi had scored a record 91 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and Argentina.
The 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala was the third year for FIFA's awards for the top football players and coaches of the year. The awards were given out in Zürich on 7 January 2013., with Lionel Messi winning a record fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or.
Messi was ineffective during the first leg against Bayern Munich and was unable to play at all during the second, as Barcelona were defeated 7–0 on aggregate by the eventual champions.
The first leg was played at Aliens Arena and Bayern finished with "4:0" on 23 April 2013, while the second leg was played at Camp Nou and Bayern finished with "3:0" on 1 May 2013 as well.
On 22 July 2013, Martino was confirmed as manager of Spanish club Barcelona to replace Tito Vilanova who resigned three days earlier.
Messi scored another hat-trick against Real Madrid on 23 March made him the all-time top scorer in El Clásico.
On 19 May 2014, it was announced that Luis Enrique would return to Barcelona as a manager, after he agreed to a three-year deal.
Germany beats Argentina in World Cup Final 1-0.
Messi scored twice and assisted on another in their 3–0 semi-final victory over Bayern Munich, now under the stewardship of Guardiola. His second goal, which came only three minutes after his first, saw him chip the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after his dribble past Jérôme Boateng had made the defender drop to the ground; it went viral, becoming the year's most tweeted-about sporting moment, and was named the best goal of the season by UEFA.
It's interesting, that Neuer argued that he would show Messi who is the Boss.
Fourth Champions league title Leo Messi achieved. It was played at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, on 6 June 2015, between Italian side Juventus and Spanish side Barcelona. The match was ended for Barcelona with "3-1".
After extra time, Chile won 4–1 on penalties
After a knee injury, Messi returned to the pitch on 21 November, making a substitute appearance in Barcelona's 4–0 away win over rivals Real Madrid in El Clásico.
Fifth Ballon d'Or awarded.
After extra time, Chile won the final 4–2 on penalties against Argentina.
After the match, Messi, who had missed his penalty in the shootout, announced his retirement from international football. Messi stated, "I tried my hardest. The team has ended for me, a decision made".
Following his announcement, a campaign began in Argentina for Messi to change his mind about retiring. He was greeted by fans with signs like "Don't go, Leo" when the team landed in Buenos Aires. President of Argentina Mauricio Macri urged Messi not to quit, stating, "We are lucky, it is one of life's pleasures, it is a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a footballing country like ours... Lionel Messi is the greatest thing we have in Argentina and we must take care of him." Mayor of Buenos Aires Horacio Rodríguez Larreta unveiled a statue of Messi in the capital to convince him to reconsider retirement. On social networks, NoTeVayasLeo became a global trending topic and even a playlist on Spotify. The campaign also continued in the streets and avenues of the Argentine capital, with about 50,000 supporters going to the Obelisco de Buenos Aires on 2 July, using the same slogan.
Just a week after Messi announced his international retirement, Argentine newspaper La Nación reported that he was reconsidering playing for Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in September. On 12 August, it was confirmed that Messi had reversed his decision to retire from international football, and he was included in the squad for the national team's upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Argentina's place in the 2018 World Cup was in jeopardy going into their final qualifying match as they were sixth in their group, outside the five possible CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying spots, meaning they risked failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1970. On 10 October 2017, Messi led his country to World Cup qualification in scoring a hat-trick as Argentina came from behind to defeat Ecuador 3–1 away; Argentina had not defeated Ecuador in Quito since 2001.
Barca had a sad night losing 3–0 to Roma. Goals from Džeko, De Rossi, and Manolas allowed the Italians to turn around a three-goal deficit and qualify for the semi-finals on the away goals rule.
With the departure of former captain Andrés Iniesta in May 2018, Messi was named the team's new captain for the following season.
Following on from their poor qualification campaign, salvaged by Messi, expectations were not high going into the 2018 World Cup. In the round of 16 match against eventual champions France on 30 June, Messi set up Gabriel Mercado's and Sergio Agüero's goals in a 4–3 defeat, which saw Argentina eliminated from the World Cup.
Barcelona suffered a 4–0 away defeat, which saw Liverpool advance to the final 4–3 on aggregate, leaving the UEFA Champions League.
Six days before, Messi scored twice in a 3–0 home win over Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals; his second goal of the match, a 35-yard free-kick, was the 600th senior club goal of his career, all of which had been scored with Barcelona.
On 21 May 2019, Messi was included in the final 23-man Argentina squad for the 2019 Copa América.
Following Argentina's 2–0 defeat to hosts Brazil in the semi-finals on 2 July, Messi was critical of the refereeing during the match.
The 2019 Ballon d'Or was the 64th annual ceremony of the Ballon d'Or, presented by France Football, and recognising the best footballer in the world for 2019. Lionel Messi won the award for a record sixth time in his career.
Messi suffered his worst defeat as a player as Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 8–2 in a one-off tie in Lisbon, leading to another disappointing exit from the Champions League.
Following growing dissatisfaction with the direction of Barcelona on and off the field, Barcelona announced that Messi sent the club "a document expressing his desire to leave" on 25 August 2020.
On August 26, Barcelona's sporting director Ramon Planes iterated the club's desire to "build a team around the most important player in the world" and affirmed Messi will only be able to leave should a buyer pay his €700 million buyout clause; a reported early termination option available in Messi's contract (which would have allowed him to leave the club for free) could only be exercised if he had communicated his decision to Barcelona by 31 May 2020, although the player's representatives argued the deadline should be set to 31 August, due to the adjourned 2019–20 season.
On 30 August, La Liga issued a statement stating Messi's contract and buyout clause are still active.
Later that evening, Messi announced in an interview with Goal that he would continue in Barcelona for the final year of his contract. In the interview, Messi claimed to have informed Barcelona of his desire to leave multiple times, and club president Josep Bartomeu said Messi could decide at the end of every season if he could stay or leave, only for Bartomeu to refer to the release clause.
This left Messi with two options: to stay or go to court against the club, with the player saying "I would never go to court against the club of my life".
On 18 September, Messi was called up to the Argentina squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia in October.
Two days prior to the opening game, he again criticized the club, this time for the manner of Luis Suárez's departure, stating, "at this stage nothing surprises me anymore".
On 20 October, Messi scored a penalty in a 5–1 home victory against Ferencváros in the Champions League, becoming the first player in history to score in sixteen consecutive Champions League seasons.
Under increasing pressure from supporters, Barcelona President Jose Maria Bartomeu has resigned.
On 17 December, Messi finished third in The Best FIFA Men's Player award behind Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo and was included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI for the fourteenth consecutive year.
On 22 December, Messi scored his 644th goal for Barcelona against Real Valladolid in La Liga, surpassing Pelé with Santos as the player with the most goals scored for a single club.
On 17 January 2021, Messi was sent off for the first time in his club career for violent conduct (swinging an arm at the head of Asier Villalibre, missed initially by the referee but reviewed via VAR) in the final minutes of Barcelona's 2–3 extra-time defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the 2020–21 Supercopa de España Final.
On 17 April, Messi scored twice as Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 4–0 in the 2021 Copa del Rey Final.
On 16 May, Messi scored his 30th league goal of the campaign in a 1–2 home defeat against Celta Vigo, which later turned out to be his final goal and match in a Barcelona shirt.
On 1 July, Messi became a free agent after his contract expired, with negotiations on a new deal complicated due to financial issues at Barcelona.
On 10 July, Argentina defeated hosts Brazil 1–0 in the final, giving Messi his first major international title and Argentina's first since 1993, as well as his nation's joint record 15th Copa América overall.
On 5 August, Barcelona announced that Messi would not be staying at the club, even though both parties reached an agreement and were due to sign a contract that day. The club cited financial and structural obstacles posed by La Liga regulations as a reason for Messi's departure.
Club president Joan Laporta also blamed the previous board for Messi's exit by saying "the basis of everything is the calamitous and disastrous situation left by the previous board", he added saying "the expected debt is much higher and we had some sports contracts in place that meant we had no margin on salary".
Three days later, in a tearful press conference held at the Camp Nou, Messi confirmed that he would be leaving Barcelona.
On 10 August, Messi joined the French club Paris Saint-Germain. He signed a two-year deal until June 2023 with an option for an extra year. Messi chose 30 as his squad number, the same he wore as a teenager when he made his senior debut for Barcelona.
Messi made his debut for the club on 29 August, coming on as a substitute in the second half of a 2–0 away win over Reims in Ligue 1.
On 9 September, Messi scored a hat-trick in a 3–0 home win over Bolivia in a 2022 World Cup qualifier which also moved him above Pelé as South America's top male international scorer with 79 goals.
On 28 September, Messi scored his first goal for the club, a strike from the edge of the 18-yard box after playing a one-two with Kylian Mbappé, in a 2–0 Champions League group stage win over Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
On 21 November, Messi scored his first Ligue 1 goal in a 3–1 home victory over Nantes.
Having scored 40 goals at the club and international level for the calendar year and helped Argentina win the 2021 Copa América, on 29 November Messi received a record seventh Ballon d'Or.