Lionel Andres Messi, the only player to win Five Ballon d’Or, is one of the most popular footballers currently. An Argentine footballer by birth, he plays as a forward for the Spanish club Barcelona. He is often hailed as the successor to another renowned player of all time- Diego Maradona. He is even the only professional footballer to get three European Golden Shoes. Such prolific is he in the world of football, that Messi holds the record for a number of achievements in his cap. From scoring the highest number of goals in La Liga to scoring the most number of goals in a calendar year, Messi has the highest number of assists in Copa America and La Liga. He recently announced his retirement from international soccer after losing in the Copa America Final.
His Early Life
Lionel Messi was born on June 24, 1987 to Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccitini in Rosario, Santa Fe province of Argentina. He grew up in a football loving environment where he used to play regularly with his elder brothers Rodrigo and Matias. He joined the local club to practice football at the age of four, where he was coached by his father.
Messi was diagonised with Hormone deficiency when he was eleven years old. Carles Rexach , director of FC Barcelona during that time, agreed to take the boy if his parents could move to Barcelona, Spain. From there began the remarkable career of the soccer legend.
His father was a manager at a steel factory whereas Celia worked in a magnet manufacturing workshop. If considered from Jorge’s side, Messi has a heritage of Italian and Spanish and from his mother’s side he is a descendant of Italy. He is the third child in a family of four children. His brothers are Rodrigo and Matias whereas he has a sister called Maria.
Since he was of 20 years old, i.e. in 2008 Lionel Messi has been into a relationship with Antonella Rocuzzo, a childhood friend from Rosario. Messi knew her from Rosario itself as she was the cousin of his best friend Lucas Scaglia, a football player by profession. It was only in January 2009 that the player confirmed of his relationship with Antonella during an interview. The couple have two sons now. Thiago, Messi’s first child was born on 2nd November, 2012. He has the tattoo of Thiago’s handprints improinted on his left calf. It was in 2015 that Messi confirmed over Facebook that they are expecting their second child. Mateo, his second son was born on September 2015.
His career began in 2000 when he started playing for the Junior ranks. He made a league debut on October 2004. He made his Championship debut in 2005. He recreated history by being the youngest to score a goal for Barcelona at the age of 17. He scored his 500th senior career goal for club and country on 17 April 2016. The versatile player retired from international football after his team lost to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final 2016.