10 Amazing facts about one of the Best Footballers of all time Lionel Andres Messi you never knew
Lionel Andres “Leo” Messi!! One of the greatest soccer players on the planet has just announced his retirement after Argentina lost to Chile in the Copa America Cup finals on Monday, the 27th June, 2016. Win or lose, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly a football genius who overcame physical disability to become the youngest player to win FIFA’s coveted Balloon D’Or at the age of 21. Lionel Messi was as a football prodigy right from the age of six. If he truly keeps his decision of retirement, soccer will have lost one of the greatest champions of the sport the world has ever seen. Here are ten amazing facts about Lionel Messi.
1 Diagnosed With Growth Hormone Deficiency at the Age Of 10
Messi started playing football at the age of six, when he joined the Argentinian Club Newell Old boys. Part of an indomitable youth team, which performed football tricks at half time during popular matches, he scored 500 goals for the club. However, at the age of 10 he was diagnosed with Human growth hormone deficiency. Try as they might, Messi’s parents just couldn’t raise the money for his treatment. Sadly, even his club River Plate didn’t. Messi stated that his hormonal treatments required injections every night for the next three years.
Ultimately the family overcame their problem when Messi moved to Barcelona with his father, where he was given a trial by Barcelona. He was just 14.
2 His First Contract Was Signed On a Paper Napkin
Although Carles Rexach, team director of Barcelona wanted to sign on Messi immediately, the Board of Directors was hesitant all because they found it unusual to sign a non-European player who was so very young. Ultimately, they agreed when Messi’s father issued an ultimatum. Rexach jumped to the opportunity and grabbed the first piece of paper he could get his hands on. It was a paper napkin on which he wrote out Messi’s contract and it was worth 40,000 pounds annually. That was enough for his father to pay for his HGH injections that cost a $ 1000 a month. Messi’s current buyout price at Barcelona was 250 million Euros.
3 Messi’s Son, Aged Four Has Already Been Signed On By His Old Home Club
Messi’s son, Thiago is just four years old, but he was already the subject of many a bid by football clubs in Argentina. Ultimately, it was Messi’s first club, Newell Old Boys, which signed him on where club officials even traveled all the way to Europe to complete the formalities with Messi’s father. Thiago was given a small little T-shirt with the number 10 on it; his father’s position as center forward.
4 Messi Is the Shortest Football Forward In the History of the Game
Standing at just 1.69 meters height, Messi is the shortest football player in history. Apart from this record, he has broken many a records. Of all his noted records broken here are the most significant.
- Youngest FIFA Balloon d’Or winner at 23 years old.
- The only player to win the Balloon d’Or five times
- Three time winner of UEFA best player in Europe Award
- Top goal scorer in FIFA World Cup along with Luis Suarez and Cesar Delgado
- The first and only player to win more than one FIFA World Cup Golden Ball
- Only player weight 6 LA LIGA awards
- Messi is the only Barcelona’s player to be top goal scorer in three La Liga seasons
- Youngest player to play and score for Argentina in a World Cup, 2006
- Youngest player to reach 100 caps for his country
- Youngest player to have scored 200 goals in the La Liga
- The highest goal scorer for Argentina of all time
- The dozens of accolades, league awards and UEFA competition awards have not been included
5 Who Is Messi’s Greatest Rival On The Football Field?
In what could be termed as his greatest competitor and rival in the sport, it is only Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, who can be considered a fitting rival to Messi’s greatness when it comes to football. In fact, the football fraternity has always regarded Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the two best players on the planet. Their rivalry extends onto the field where both play in the Spanish league for rival clubs, where Messi plays for Barcelona, Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid. There is mutual respect between each player. Like Messi, Ronaldo is the only player to have won European Golden Shoe Awards. Ronaldo was voted as ESPN’s World’s Most Famous Athlete of 2016.
6 Messi’s Greatest Moment Was His Maradonna Run
Messi’s defining moment came when he accomplished the same feat as Maradonna’s magnificent run against England, outrunning three players to score in the quarterfinals of World Cup 86. Messi’s phenomenal skills, akin to compatriot Maradonna were displayed during the Copa Del Reysemi Final against Getafe on 18 April 2007. Messi found the ball at the half way line and ran 200 feet dribbling five defenders to score an angled goal in the same way Maradonna had done.
7 Messi Has Been Happily Married To His Childhood Sweetheart Whom He Met When He Was Five Years Old
Messi met Antonella Roccuzzo when he was just five years old. Despite his problems and subsequent migration to Spain, the couple kept in touch with each other. Today, Antonella is a famous Model but the couple avoids the media. They were blessed with a son in 2012, whom they named Thiago Messi. There is a high possibility that he will be the new Messi once he starts officially playing for his club Newell Old boys.
8 Messi’s Bond With Underprivileged Children
An amazing fact about Lionel Messi is that besides being a footballer, he is also a humanitarian and his character is shaped a lot by what he does off the field. Messi has contributed both self and wealth to several charities, where he has also set up the Lionel Messi Foundation for providing children with medical benefits and education.
Messi is also a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and has donated half a million dollars to the organization for underprivileged children.
9 His World Cup Debut Lasted 44 Seconds
Surprisingly for Messi, his first international debut in a major event was expected to give him the base, he deserved to show off his skills but it turned out an unfortunate and unexpected incident.
His debut for Argentina in August 2005 against Hungary lasted just 44 seconds. He was all of 18 and substituted for Lisandro Lopez but was red carded 44 seconds later for a foul against Hungarian defender, Vilmos Vanczak. Messi was accused of elbowing Vilmos who also got a yellow card for aggressively pulling Messi’s shirt. Messi returned back to the locker room where team mate Nicky Salapau saw him, and he had his head in hands, he was totally in tears.
10 The All Time Barcelona Scorer with a Buyout Value of 250 Million Pounds
At 24, Lionel Messi achieved what no footballer could, he became the youngest all time scorer of the famous team Barcelona in the Spanish league. Barcelona and Messi have a faithful relationship where the club signed him on, which helped his family meet his medical expenses, something even his club in Argentina refused to do. Today, pre-retirement Messi was worth 250 million Euros. Messi is the highest paid footballer in the world with a total earning of 59 million dollars.
With Messi retired, football has lost its hero, who painted the game with his flamboyant energy and skills that made him what he is today. The world salutes Messi for giving us soccer’s greatest moments and he will no doubt earn himself a place in football’s hall of fame.