If we asked you to name the greatest soccer player of all time, we bet many of you would say Lionel Messi. He’s one of the finest to ever play and has inspired millions across the globe to love the beautiful game. He has been compared to players like Diego Maradona & Cristiano Ronaldo, but Messi’s talent is unlike any other player to date. After his appearance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we were inspired to feature Messi and why many may consider him the #1 player in the world!
Born and raised in the countryside of Rosario, Argentina, Messi grew up in a working-class family. From a young age, Messi would tag along when his older brothers would casually play soccer with their friends. He showed great promise as a young child, and was recruited at 8 years old to join the youth soccer system of Newell’s Old Boys – a Rosario-based club. Despite being recognizably smaller than the other players his age, his phenomenal skills garnered attention from other youth academies.
Messi showed signs of a promising soccer career early on, but at 11 years old he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. To make sense of his smaller stature, the hormone deficiency restricted his growth and required a regimen of expensive hormone injections every month. Unfortunately, the medical care that he required was too expensive for his parents to afford in Argentina.
Luckily, Messi’s talent was enough to support his family. When he was 13, he was offered the opportunity to train with FC Barcelona’s Youth squad. Even though his parents could barely afford his treatments, Argentina’s economic spiral at the time was a sign to make the move to Spain – so they did. When FC Barcelona saw how good Messi’s skills were, they not only offered him a place in the youth academy but paid for his medical expenses, as well. Messi’s short stature, speed, and skill pushed him through Barcelona’s youth rankings, eventually leading him to play for FC Barcelona at the age of 17.
Rise to Fame
At the age of 17, Messi became the youngest official player and goal scorer in LaLiga during the 2004-05 season. He proved to be small but mighty, versatile, and strong on the field. He guided the club to a wealth of success, when in 2009, the team captured the Champions League, LaLiga, and Spanish Super Cup titles. After the treble winning season, he took home his first Ballon d’Or.
Messi played for Barcelona up until 2021, when he became a free agent, then signing for Paris Saint-Germain that same year. His time at Barcelona consisted of a number of championship titles, Ballon d’Or’s, and multiple records being broke. Most notable would be the 2014-15 season when he recovered from a hamstring injury but managed to come back as the all-time leading goal scorer for LaLiga and Champions League. This was followed by another historic treble for Barcelona, earning Messi his fifth Ballon d’Or trophy.
Messi is no one hit wonder, and his career continues to flourish. Veteran players including Maradona have gushed over him saying he is a leader and brings something new unlike any other player in the world. He’s remembered for many outstanding goals, plays, and overcoming difficult boundaries.
Even though he was a Spanish citizen, Messi decided to represent Argentina in the 2006 World Cup. At the tournament, he became the youngest Argentinian player to participate and score. Since then, Messi has been a key player for the Argentina national team. However, the Argentina National team is a great representation on how it takes a team to win, not just a single player.
The Argentina National soccer team’s history shows them always an arm’s length away from a trophy. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Argentina took home the gold medal, with Messi scoring 2 goals in 5 matches for the team. He helped the team reach the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, and the World Cup final in 2014. Unfortunately, both of those tournaments didn’t see Argentina take home the win, but Messi’s performance was undoubtably amazing.
After more World Cup and Copa America losses, Messi said he was going to quit the national team, but his “retirement” was short-lived. He came back strong in the 2018 World Cup carrying the team to the knockout stage, and a third place finish in the 2019 Copa America tournament. Two years later, Messi led Argentina to victory in the Copa America tournament, and continued his success at the 2022 World Cup. Without a doubt, he guided the national team to the 2022 World Cup finals where he scored two goals, ultimately defeating France. He became the first male player to receive the World Cup’s Golden Ball twice after the 2022 tournament, and will forever be a FIFA World Cup legend. Messi announced that the 2022 World Cup would be his last, but since has taken back his statement and, who knows, maybe we’ll get to see him play one more time for the World Cup fans!
The many things that Messi has achieved over his career do not necessarily make him the greatest of all time, but they do show how great his talent is. Here are a few of the major achievements that Messi has made since the beginning of his career:
- 7 Ballon d’Or trophies
- 2 World Cup Golden Ball trophies
- 1 FIFA World Player award
- 10 LaLigas
- 4 Champions League Titles
- 3 European Super Cups
- 1 Ligue 1
- 6 European Golden Shoe trophies
- Most goals in a LaLiga season (50 goals)
- Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer
- Most trophies won as a Barcelona FC player
- All-time top scorer at the same club
- All-time top goal scorer in LaLiga
- Top goal scorer in the 21st century
Quotes About Messi
People all across the world have shown affection towards Messi, and see him as a role model to other athletes. Here’s what some have had to say about the GOAT:
Where is Messi Now?
Messi just completed one of his best seasons in 2022, finally taking home the prize most soccer players aspire to have. Along with his major career as an athlete, Messi has a famously private personal life. He married Antonella Roccuzzo who he met at only 5 years old, and they now share 3 sons together. He has multiple brand deals and endorsements with companies like Adidas, Gatorade, and Budweiser, while also having his own Messi Store. Within his quiet personal life, he formed the Leo Messi foundation back in 2007 to provide opportunities to disadvantaged youths, and has been named a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in 2010, with the focus of fighting for children’s rights.
In 2023, Messi is continuing to play for France’s Paris Saint-Germain, alongside major talent Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr. His next big milestone would be to take the team to the Champions League final, and we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if he succeeds! After his performance at the 2022 World Cup, Messi has gained a whole new sense of confidence, so maybe a few more records will be broken this year too?
Now do you see why Messi is considered the greatest soccer player of all time? If he’s inspired you, or is simply your favorite player, why not celebrate his career with commemorative memorabilia? At SoccerCards.ca, you can find authentic Messi SoccerStarz, apparel, or memorabilia representing PSG, Barcelona, and Argentina!
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