This also about Lionel Messi...
"The Golden Boy" from argentina
|Full name||Lionel Andrés Messi|
|Date of birth||24 June 1987 (1987-06-24)|
|Place of birth||Rosario, Argentina|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Current club||FC Barcelona|
|1995–2000||Newell's Old Boys|
|2003–2004||FC Barcelona B|
|2004–||FC Barcelona||109 (54)|
|2005||Argentina U20||7 (6)|
|2008||Argentina U23||5 (2)|
|1 Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 May 2009. |
2 Appearances (Goals)
3 National team caps and goals correct as of 30 March 2009.
FIFA World Cup 2006
Copa America 2007
2008 Summer Olympics
All-time club performance
|1||14 June 2005||Arke Stadion, Enschede, Netherlands||Egypt||1 – 0||2 – 0||2005 FIFA World Youth Championship|
|2||22 June 2005||Univé Stadion, Emmen, Netherlands||Colombia||1 – 1||1 – 2||2005 FIFA World Youth Championship|
|3||24 June 2005||Arke Stadion, Enschede, Netherlands||Spain||3 – 1||3 – 1||2005 FIFA World Youth Championship|
|4||28 June 2005||Galgenwaard Stadion, Utrecht, Netherlands||Brazil||0 – 1||1 – 2||2005 FIFA World Youth Championship|
|5||2 July 2005||Galgenwaard Stadion, Utrecht, Netherlands||Nigeria||1 – 0||2 – 1||2005 FIFA World Youth Championship|
|6||2 July 2005||Galgenwaard Stadion, Utrecht, Netherlands||Nigeria||2 – 1||2 – 1||2005 FIFA World Youth Championship|
- Winner (1): 2008-2009
- Winner (2): 2005-2006, 2006-2007
- Winner (1): 2005
- Gold medal (1): 2008
- Runner-up (1): 2007
- Runner-up (2): 2007, 2008
- Runner-up (1): 2008
- Player of the Year of Argentina: 2005, 2007
- FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year: 2006-2007, 2007-2008
- FIFPro World Young Player of the Year: 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008
- World Soccer Young Player of the Year: 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008
- EFE Trophy (Best Ibero-American Player in La Liga): 2006-2007, 2007-2008
- FIFPro World XI: 2006-2007, 2007-2008
- UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2008-2009
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2007-2008
- FIFA Team of the Year: 2007-2008
Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi (born 24 June 1987 in Rosario) is an Argentine footballer who plays for Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Argentine national team. Messi is considered to be one of the best football players of his generation, having received several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21. He was selected as both the FIFPro and World Soccer Magazine Young Player of the Year for three years running from 2005–2008. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to football legend Diego Maradona. Indeed, Maradona himself declared Messi his "successor".
Messi began playing football at a young age and his potential was quickly identified by FC Barcelona. He left Newell's Old Boys's youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe, as Barcelona offered treatment for his growth hormone deficiency. Making his debut in the 2004–05 season, he broke the La Liga record for the youngest footballer to play a league game, and also the youngest to score a league goal. Major honours soon followed as Barcelona won La Liga in Messi's debut season, and won a double of the league and UEFA Champions League in 2006. His breakthrough season was in 2006–07: he became a first team regular, scoring a hat-trick in El Clásico and finishing with 14 goals in 26 league games. Perhaps his most successful season was the 2008–09 season, in which Messi scored 38 goals to play an integral part in a treble winning campaign.
Messi was the top scorer, with six goals which included two goals in the final, and winner of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with Argentina and soon established himself in the senior international team. In 2006 he became the youngest Argentine to play in the FIFA World Cup and he won a runners-up medal at the Copa América tournament the following year. He won his first senior international honours in 2008, winning an Olympic gold medal with the Argentina Olympic football team in Beijing.
Messi was born on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina to parents Jorge Messi, a factory worker and part-time cleaner, and Celia (née Cuccitini). He also has two older brothers Rodrigo and Matías and a sister Maria Sol. At the age of five, Messi started playing football for Grandoli. In 1995, Messi switched to Newell's Old Boys. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. River Plate showed interest in Messi's progress, but did not have enough money to pay for the treatment of the illness that cost $1500 a month. Carles Rexach, the sporting director of FC Barcelona, was made aware of Messi's talent, and FC Barcelona signed him after watching him play, offering to pay for the medical bills if he was willing to move to start a new life in Spain. His family moved to Europe and he started in the club's youth teams.
Messi made his unofficial debut for the first team against F.C. Porto on 16 November 2003 (at 16 years and 145 days). Less than a year later, he made his league debut against RCD Espanyol on 16 October 2004 (at 17 years and 114 days), becoming the third-youngest player ever to play for Barcelona and youngest club player who played in La Liga (a record broken by team mate Bojan Krkić in September 2007). When he scored his first senior goal for the club against Albacete Balompié on 1 May 2005, Messi was 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old, becoming the youngest to ever score in a La Liga game for Barcelona until 2007 when Bojan Krkić, again, broke this record, scoring from a Messi assist.
On 16 September, for the second time in three months, Barcelona announced an update to Messi's contract - this time improved to pay him as a first team member and extended till June 2014. Messi obtained Spanish citizenship on 26 September and was finally able to make his debut in the season's Spanish First Division. He had previously been unable to play because Barcelona had filled their quota of non-EU players. Messi's first home outing in the UEFA Champions League came on 27 September against Italian club Udinese. Fans at the Nou Camp gave Messi a standing ovation upon his substitution, as his composure on the ball and link-up play with Ronaldinho had paid dividends for Barcelona.
Messi netted six goals in seventeen league appearances, and scored one Champions League goal in six. However, his season ended prematurely on 7 March 2006 when he suffered a muscle tear in his right thigh during the second leg of the second round Champions League tie against Chelsea. Barcelona ended the season as champions of Spain and Europe.
Chelsea and Real Madrid. On 12 November, in the game against Real Zaragoza, Messi suffered a broken metatarsal, ruling him out for 3 months. Messi recuperated from his injury in Argentina, his return to action came against Racing Santander on 11 February, where he came on as a second-half substitute. Frank Rijkaard carefully managed his complete return, gradually increasing playing minutes with each game. One month after his return, on 10 March, he played his first full league match since the injury against Real Madrid. Once again, El Clásico saw Messi in top form, scoring a hat-trick to earn 10-man Barcelona a 3-3 draw, equalising three times, with the final equaliser coming in injury time. In doing so he became the first player since Iván Zamorano (for Real Madrid in the 1994-95 season) and the first Barcelona player since Romário (1993-94 season) to hit a hat-trick in El Clásico. Messi is also the youngest player ever to have scored in this fixture. Towards the end of the season he began finding the net more often, 11 of his 14 league goals for the season came from the last 13 games.
 On 18 April 2007, he scored two goals during a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe, one of which was very similar to Maradona's famous goal against England at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, known as the Goal of the Century. The world's sports press exploded with Maradona comparisons, and the Spanish press labelled Messi as "Messidona". He ran about the same distance (62 m), beat the same number of players (six, including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag just as Maradona did in Mexico 21 years before. In a press conference after the game, Messi's team-mate Deco said: "There's no other like Leo." Against Espanyol Messi also scored a goal which was remarkably similar to Maradona's goal against England in the world cup quarter-finals. Messi launched himself at the ball and connected with his hand to guide the ball past the goalkeeper Carlos Kameni. Despite protests by Espanyol players the goal was allowed despite replays showing it was clear handball.
FC Sevilla on 22 September. A few days earlier he had scored as Barcelona defeated Olympique Lyonnais 3-0 at home in a Champions League match and then on 26 September, Messi scored another goal in a 4-1 victory over Real Zaragoza.
He was nominated for a FIFPro World XI Player Award under the category of Forward. A recent poll conducted in the online edition of the Spanish newspaper Marca had him as the best player in the world with 77 percent of the vote. Columnists from Barcelona-based newspapers El Mundo Deportivo and Sport stated that the Ballon d'Or should be given to Leo Messi, a view supported by Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. Various football personalities such as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Frank Rijkaard, Víctor Fernández, Bernd Schuster, Guti, Raúl, Gianluca Zambrotta, Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano, Alfredo di Stéfano, Diego Maradona and Pelé have all, at one time or another, declared that they consider Messi to be one of the current best footballers in the world.
On 27 February, Messi played in his 100th official match for Barça against Valencia.
Messi was sidelined for six weeks following an injury on 4 March when he suffered a muscle tear in his left thigh during a Champions League match against Celtic. It was the fourth time in three seasons that the player suffered this type of injury.
Shakhtar Donetsk, Messi scored two goals during the last seven minutes after coming on as a substitute for Thierry Henry, to turn the score from 0–1 to a victory for Barcelona 2-1. The next league game was versus Atlético Madrid, a match billed as a friendly battle between Lionel and good friend Sergio Agüero. Messi scored a goal from a free kick and assisted another as Barça went on to win the match 6-1. Messi netted another impressive brace against Sevilla scoring a dipping volley after being played through by Xavi and then rounding the keeper and slotting home from a tight angle for the other. On 13 December 2008, during the first Clásico of the season, Messi scored the second goal in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Real Madrid. He was also named second in the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year awards with 678 points.
Messi scored his first hat-trick of 2009 in a Copa del Rey tie against Atlético Madrid which Barcelona won 3-1. Messi scored another important double on 1 February 2009, coming on as a second half substitute to help Barcelona defeat Racing de Santander 2–1 after being 0–1 down. The second of the two strikes was Barcelona's 5000th league goal. In the 28th round of La Liga, Messi scored his 30th goal of the season in all competitions, helping his team to a 6-0 victory over Málaga CF in the process. On 8 April 2009, he scored twice against Bayern Munich in the Champions' League, setting a personal record of nine goals in the competition. On April 18th, Messi notched his 20th league goal of the season in a 1–0 at Getafe, allowing Barcelona to maintain their six point advantage at the top of the table.
As a frantic end to Barcelona's season began, Messi scored twice (his 35th and 36th goals in all competitions) to cap a wonderful performance in a 6–2 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in what was Real's heaviest defeat since 1930. After scoring each goal, he ran towards the fans and the cameras lifting up his Barcelona jersey and showing another T-shirt that read Síndrome X Fràgil, Catalan for Fragile X Syndrome, to show his support for children who suffer from the affliction. Messi was involved in the build-up to Andrés Iniesta's injury time goal against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final to send Barcelona through to face Manchester United in the final. He won his first Copa del Rey on 13 May, scoring one and assisting another two, in a 4–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. He helped his team win the double by winning La Liga. On May 27 he helped Barcelona win the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final by scoring a second goal in the 70th minute giving Barcelona a two goal lead. Samuel Eto'o scored the first in the 10th minute and Messi sealed it in the 70th with a beautifully placed header. That meant Barcelona had won the Copa del Rey, La Liga and UEFA Champions League this season.
In June 2004, he debuted for Argentina, playing in an under-20 friendly match against Paraguay. In 2005 he was part of a team of talented new players that won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. There, he won the Golden Ball and the Golden Shoe.
On 4 August 2005, José Pekerman called Messi up to the senior Argentine national team. He made his debut on 17 August against Hungary at 18 years and 54 days, but it was a forgettable occasion. He was substituted on during the 63rd minute, but was sent off after just 40 seconds because the referee, Markus Merk, found he had elbowed defender Vilmos Vanczák, who was tugging Messi's shirt. The decision was contentious. Maradona even claimed the decision was pre-meditated. Messi then had his first international start on 3 September in Argentina's 1-0 World Cup qualifier away defeat to Paraguay. Ahead of the match he had said "This is a re-début. The first one was a bit short."
On 28 March 2009 in a World Cup Qualifier against Venezuela, Messi wore the coveted number 10 Argentine senior national side jersey for the first time. This match was the first official match for Diego Maradona as Argentine Coach. Argentina won the match 4-0 with Lionel Messi opening the scoring.
World Cup. Nevertheless, Messi was selected in the Argentina squad for the tournament on 15 May 2006. He also played in the farewell match against the Argentine U-20 team for fifteen minutes and a friendly against Angola from the 64th minute. He witnessed Argentina's opening match victory against Ivory Coast from the bench. In the next match against Serbia, Messi became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup when he came on as a substitute for Maxi Rodríguez in the 74th minute. He assisted Hernán Crespo's goal within minutes of entering the game and also scored the final goal in the 6-0 victory, that made him the youngest scorer in the tournament and the sixth youngest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup. Messi started in Argentina's following 0-0 tie against the Netherlands. In the following game against Mexico, Messi came on as a substitute in the 84th minute, with the score tied 1-1. He appeared to score a goal, but was ruled offside Argentina needing an extra time winner to proceed. Coach José Pekerman controversially left Messi on the bench during the quarter-finals match against Germany. Argentina lost 4-2 on penalties and Messi, who was visibly upset during the game, declined to speak to reporters afterwards.
Copa started Leo was the youngest player in the tournament. Messi played his first game in Copa America on 29 June 2007, when Argentina defeated United States 4-1 in the first game. In this game, Messi showed his capabilities as a playmaker. He set up a goal for fellow striker Hernán Crespo and had numerous shots on target. Tevez came on as a substitute for Messi in the 79th minute and scored minutes later.
His second game was against Colombia, in which he won a penalty that Crespo converted to tie the game at 1-1. He also played a part in Argentina's second goal as he was fouled outside the box, which allowed Juan Roman Riquelme to score from a freekick, and increase Argentina's lead to 3-1. The final score of the game was 4-2 in Argentina's favor and guaranteed them a spot in the tournament's quarterfinals.
In the third game, against Paraguay the coach rested Messi having already qualified for the quarter-finals. He came off the bench in place of Esteban Cambiasso in the 64th minute, with 0-0. In the 79th minute he created a goal for Javier Mascherano.
In the quarterfinals, as Argentina faced Peru, Messi scored the 2nd goal of the game, from a Riquelme pass in a 4-0 win.
During the semi-final match against Mexico, Messi scored a lob over Oswaldo Sanchez to see Argentina through to the Final. Argentina went on to lose to Brazil in the Final.
Having originally been barred by Barcelona from playing for his country in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Barcelona agreed to release him after he held talks with Josep Guardiola. He joined the Argentina squad and scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast. He then scored the opening goal and assisted Ángel Di María in the second to help his side to a 2-1 extra-time win against the Netherlands. He gave another strong performance in Argentina's match against rival Brazil, in which Argentina took a 3-0 victory, thus advancing to the final. In the gold medal match, Messi again assisted Ángel Di María for the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Nigeria.
As of 27 May 2009
Messi was at one stage linked to Macarena Lemos, a young Argentine from his hometown of Rosario. He is said to have been introduced to her by the girl's father when he returned to Rosario to recover from his injury a few days before the start of the 2006 World Cup. He has in the past also been linked to the Argentine model, Luciana Salazar.
In January 2009 he told "Hat Trick Barça", a programme on Canal 33: "I have a girlfriend and she is living in Argentina, I am relaxed and happy". He was seen with the girl, Antonella, at a carnival in Sitges after the Barcelona-Espanyol derby. Antonella is a fellow native of Rosario.