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Lionel Messi - The Greg Jones Blog · PDF file12.06.2010 · Lionel Messi 3 2005–06 season The Maradona and Pele polemics will end. Diego Maradona, on the consequences if Messi won

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  • Lionel Messi 1

    Lionel Messi

    Personal information

    Full name Lionel Andrs Messi[1] [2]

    Date of birth 24 June 1987

    Place of birth Rosario, Argentina

    Height 1.69m (5ft7in)[1]

    Playing position Striker / Winger

    Club information

    Current club Barcelona

    Number 10

    Youth career

    19952000 Newell's Old Boys

    20002004 Barcelona

    Senior career*

    Years Team Apps (Gls)

    20042005 Barcelona B 5 (0)

    2004 Barcelona 144 (88)

    National team

    2005 Argentina U20 7 (6)

    2008 Argentina U23 5 (2)

    2005 Argentina 44 (13)

    * Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 May 2010. Appearances (Goals).

    National team caps and goals correct as of 20 February 2010

    Lionel Andrs Messi (Spanish pronunciation:[ljonel andes mesi]; born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine footballer whocurrently plays for Barcelona and the Argentine national team. Considered one of the best football players of hisgeneration[3] [4] [5] and frequently cited as the world's best contemporary player,[6] Messi received several Ballond'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21 and won both by the age of 22.[6] [7] [8] [9] Hisplaying style and ability have drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his"successor."[10] [11]

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  • Lionel Messi 2

    Lionel Messi began playing football at a young age and his potential was quickly identified by Barcelona. He leftRosario-based Newell's Old Boys's youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe, as Barcelona offeredtreatment for his growth hormone deficiency. Making his debut in the 200405 season, he broke the La Liga recordfor the youngest footballer to play a league game, and also the youngest to score a league goal. Major honours soonfollowed as Barcelona won La Liga in Messi's debut season, and won a double of the league and Champions Leaguein 2006. His breakthrough season was in 200607; he became a first team regular, scoring a hat-trick in El Clsicoand finishing with 14 goals in 26 league games. Perhaps his most successful season was the 200809 season, inwhich Messi scored 38 goals to play an integral part in a treble-winning campaign.Messi was the top scorer of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with six goals, including two in the finalgame. Shortly thereafter, he became an established member of Argentina's senior international team. In 2006, hebecame the youngest Argentine to play in the FIFA World Cup and he won a runners-up medal at the Copa Amricatournament the following year. In 2008, in Beijing, he won his first international honour, an Olympic gold medal,with the Argentina Olympic football team.

    Early lifeMessi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, to parents Jorge Horacio Messi (born 1958), a factoryworker, and Celia Mara Cuccittini, a part-time cleaner.[12] [13] [14] His paternal family originates from the Italian cityof Ancona, where his ancestor, Angelo Messi, emigrated to Argentina in 1883.[15] [16] He has two older brothersnamed Rodrigo and Matas as well as a sister named Maria Sol.[17] At the age of five, Messi started playing footballfor Grandoli, a local club coached by his father Jorge.[18] In 1995, Messi switched to Newell's Old Boys who werebased in his home city Rosario.[18] At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency.[19]

    Primera Divisin club River Plate showed interest in Messi's progress, but did not have enough money to pay for thetreatment, as it cost $900 a month.[14] Carles Rexach, the sporting director of Barcelona, had been made aware of histalent as Messi had relatives in Lleida, Catalonia, and Messi and his father were able to arrange a trial.[14] Barcelonasigned him after watching him play,[20] offering to pay for the medical bills if he was willing to move to Spain.[18]

    His family moved to Europe and he started in the club's youth teams.[20] He has two cousins in football; Maxi andEmanuel Biancucchi.[21] [22]

    Club career

    BarcelonaMessi made his official debut for the first team in a friendly match against Porto on 16 November 2003 (at 16 yearsand 145 days).[23] [24] Less than a year later, Frank Rijkaard let him make his league debut against Espanyol on 16October 2004 (at 17 years and 114 days), becoming the third-youngest player ever to play for Barcelona andyoungest club player who played in La Liga (a record broken by team mate Bojan Krki in September 2007).[1] [23]

    When he scored his first senior goal for the club against Albacete on 1 May 2005, Messi was 17 years, 10 monthsand 7 days old, becoming the youngest to ever score in a La Liga game for Barcelona[25] until 2007 when BojanKrki broke this record, scoring from a Messi assist.[26] Messi said about his ex-coach Rijkaard: "I'll never forget thefact that he launched my career, that he had confidence in me while I was only sixteen or seventeen."[27]

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  • Lionel Messi 3

    200506 seasonThe Maradona and Pele polemics will end.

    Diego Maradona, on the consequences if Messi won the 2010 World Cup[28]

    On 16 September, for the second time in three months, Barcelona announced an update to Messi's contract; this timeit was improved to pay him as a first team member and extended until June 2014.[18] Messi obtained Spanishcitizenship on 26 September 2005[29] and was finally able to make his debut in the season's Spanish First Division.Messi's first home outing in the Champions League came on 27 September against Italian club Udinese.[23] Fans atBarcelona's stadium, the Camp Nou, gave Messi a standing ovation upon his substitution, as his composure on theball and passing combinations with Ronaldinho had paid dividends for Barcelona.[30]

    Messi netted six goals in seventeen league appearances, and scored one Champions League goal in six. His seasonended prematurely on 7 March 2006, however, when he suffered a muscle tear in his right thigh during the secondleg of the second round Cham