Leo Messi

Every superlative in the dictionary has been scribed by football critics worldwide to try and articulate the ability of FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. However one, simple in its form, remains most fitting: special.

Born in Rosario, Argentina in 1987, ‘Leo’ began his career with local side Newell’s Old Boys aged eight but, from the age of five, it was clear to those who saw him play that Messi was gifted. Quick, strong and skillful, Messi was head and shoulders above his peers despite being diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency aged 11.

Following a five-year spell at his hometown club, Newell’s Old Boy’s best kept secret was finally discovered. Barcelona’s then sporting director Carlos Rexach was made aware of Messi’s talent and, after watching him play, offered to sign him immediately. A deal was struck. Barca agreed to take full responsibility of the Argentine’s growth deficiency, and Messi reciprocated the favour by signing a contract in 2001, aged only 13.

Catalunya instantly felt like home for the youngster and he progressed through the youth ranks at a canter. In 2002, at 16 years of age, Messi made his first team debut in a friendly with Porto. He scored his first goal a year later aged 17, thus becoming the youngest FCB goalscorer in La Liga (a record since surpassed by Bojan Krkic).

Since then Messi has become a world sensation; his incredible close control with both feet, frightening pace and admirable temperament have earned him plaudits from all walks of life. As of October 2009, he has won three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and two Champions league winners medal with els blaugranes, reaching 100 appearances and 50 club goals along the way. Not just ordinary goals either. Comparisons to Maradona are inevitable, but welcome, with the man himself heralding ‘Leo’ as his “true successor.” Indeed his goal against Getafe in April 2007 – strikingly similar to Maradona’s iconic goal against England in the ‘86 World Cup – was a moment of innate quality that epitomises what we know and now expect from Lionel Messi.

Leo Messi

Courtesy FC Barcelona

Making a Messi of the record books

An eighth hatrick of the season for Lionel Messi against Granada took him above Cesar Rodriguez in Barcelona's all-time goalscoring charts with an astounding 234 goals in under eight seasons with the club more

Mar 21, 2012 5:58 PM Team Talk - sports blog 1 Comments

Messi on fire as Barcelona thump Valencia 5-1

Lionel Messi scored four goals and set up another as Barcelona thrashed third-place Valencia 5-1 at the Camp Nou more

Feb 20, 2012 4:33 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Barcelona News: Monday 20th February

FC Barcelona score resounding victory against Valencia at Camp Nou - Spanish thriller triumphs at Goya awards - Five people killed in head-on collision near Figueres more


Champions League Roundup: Leverkusen hit by South American combo as Barcelona secure terrific away win

Two goals from Alexis Sanchez and a late volley from Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to an impressive 3-1 win away at Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last 16 more

Feb 16, 2012 6:47 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Messi magic crushes Malaga

A sublime hat-trick from Lionel Messi spurred Barcelona on to an impressive 4-1 victory away at Málaga more

Jan 24, 2012 6:35 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Super Sanchez prevents Betis upset

Alexis Sanchez inspired Barcelona to a 4-2 win over Real Betis to keep Pep Guardiola's side five points behind Real Madrid more

Jan 16, 2012 10:36 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Leo Messi

Courtesy FC Barcelona

Messi and Guardiola claim Fifa Ballon d'Or accolades

Messi claims third consecutive Ballon d'Or award as Guardiola is acknowledged as coach of the year more

Jan 10, 2012 4:35 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Five star Barcelona triumph over Levante

Barcelona produced a five-star display to defeat fourth-placed Levante by 5-0 at the Camp Nou to stay hot on the heels of Real Madrid more

Dec 5, 2011 3:33 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Barcelona show class to upstage Milan and claim top spot

An own goal from ex-Barcelona star Mark van Bommel and strikes from Lionel Messi and Xavi secured a 3-2 win for Barcelona against Italian giants AC Milan at the San Siro last night more

Nov 24, 2011 3:54 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Barcelona back to winning ways to keep the heat on Real

Barcelona remain three points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid after they confidently defeated Real Zaragoza 4-0 at the Camp Nou more

Nov 21, 2011 2:39 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Messi hat trick fires Barcelona into Champions League Knockout Stages

Barcelona progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League with a convincing 4-0 win away at Viktoria Plzen more

Nov 3, 2011 7:37 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Barcelona News: Wednesday 2nd November

Spain's IBEX stock market bounces back after yesterday's 'black Tuesday' - Rain leaves more than 70 litres of water in some areas of Barcelona - Thieves are clearing out municipal dumps more


Messi silences the critics as Barcelona thrash Real Mallorca

A first half hat trick from Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca at the Camp Nou, sending them to second in the table more

Oct 31, 2011 5:29 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Leo Messi

Courtesy FC Barcelona

Messi double sinks Racing to keep Barcelona home record intact

FC Barcelona continued their run of incredible home victories with a 3-0 win over Racing Santander more

Oct 17, 2011 1:19 PM Team Talk - sports blog 1 Comments

The FC Barcelona open-top bus takes to the streets once again

Photo by Adam Lukacs

Brilliant Barça

Pep’s side lift the Champions League as United have no answer to Catalan quality more

May 31, 2011 10:34 AM Team Talk - sports blog


Magical Messi shines as Barça win ugly encounter more

Apr 28, 2011 12:48 PM Team Talk - sports blog 1 Comments

Wednesday 9th March

Barça battle to triumph over Arsenal - Airport staff strike action threatens holiday chaos - Laporta's party won't expel him more


Our economics expert Edward Hugh explains Zapatero's latest move to get Spanish finances on the road to recovery more

Jan 31, 2011 11:39 AM IN THE CITY

Wednesday 7th April

Police accuse members of Partido Popular groups in Valencia and Galicia of irregular funding – Messi the toast of the sporting world - Catalan police fine 10 youths €55,000 for graffiti more


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