Lionel Andrés “Leo” Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Often considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as the greatest of all time, Messi is the only player in history to win six FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, four of which he won consecutively, and a record-tying four European Golden Shoes. He has won 29 trophies with Barcelona, including eight La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and five Copas del Rey. Both a prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most official goals scored in La Liga (349), a La Liga season (50) and a club football season in Europe (73), as well as those for most assists made in La Liga (137) and the Copa América (11). He has scored over 500 senior career goals for club and country. Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona, who agreed to pay for his medical treatment. After a fast progression through Barcelona’s youth academy, Messi made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004. Despite being injury-prone during his early career, he established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, finishing 2007 as a finalist for both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award, a feat he repeated the following year. His first uninterrupted campaign came in the 2008–09 season, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football. At 22 years old, Messi won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award by record voting margins. Three successful seasons followed, with Messi winning three consecutive FIFA Ballons d’Or, including an unprecedented fourth. His personal best campaign statistically to date was the 2011–12 season, in which he set the La Liga and European records for most goals scored in a single season, while establishing himself as Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in official competitions in March 2012. He again struggled with injury during the following two seasons, twice finishing second for the Ballon d’Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, his perceived career rival. Messi regained his best form during the 2014–15 campaign, breaking the all-time goalscoring records in both La Liga and the Champions League in November 2014, and led Barcelona to a historic second treble. An Argentine international, Messi is his country’s all-time leading goalscorer. At youth level, he won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, finishing the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, and an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. His style of play as a diminutive, left-footed dribbler drew comparisons with compatriot Diego Maradona, who declared the teenager his successor. After making his senior debut in August 2005, Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup during the 2006 edition, and reached the final of the 2007 Copa América, where he was named young player of the tournament. As the squad’s captain from August 2011, he led Argentina to three consecutive finals: the 2014 World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball, and the 2015 and 2016 Copa América. On December 2th 2019 he wrote a new chapter of football history winning the sixth Ballon d’Or.
Did you Know?
The Fifa World Cup “GERMANY 2006″was the first Leo’s World Cup. Messi witnessed the Argentina’s opening match victory against the Ivory Coast from the substitutes’ bench. In the next match, against Serbia and Montenegro, he became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a FIFA World Cup when he came on as a substitute in the 74th minute. He assisted their fourth strike within minutes and scored the final goal in their 6–0 victory, making him the youngest scorer in the tournament and the sixth-youngest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup. As their progression to the knockout phase was secured, several starters were rested during the last group match. Messi consequently started the game against the Netherlands, a 0–0 draw, as they won their group on goal differential. In the round of 16 match against Mexico, played on his 19th birthday, Messi came on in the 84th minute, with the score tied at 1–1. He appeared to score a goal, but it was contentiously ruled offside, with the team needing a late goal in extra time to proceed. He did not play in the quarter-final against Germany, during which Argentina were eliminated 4–2 in a penalty shootout. Back home, Pékerman’s decision to leave him on the bench against Germany led to widespread criticism from those who believed Messi could have changed the outcome of the match in Argentina’s favour.
Fifa World Cup “GERMANY 2006”
Match Worn Shirt
“I’ve seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi” Diego Armando Maradona
Did you Know?
In addition to his salary and multimillion-euro bonuses, much of Messi’s income derives from endorsements; SportsPro has consequently cited him as one of the world’s most marketable athletes every year since their research began in 2010. His main sponsor since 2006 is the sportswear company Adidas. As Barça’s leading youth prospect, he had been signed with Nike since age 14, but transferred to Adidas after they successfully challenged their rival’s claim to his image rights in court. Over time, Messi established himself as their leading brand endorser; from 2008, he had a long-running signature collection of Adidas F50 boots, and in 2015, he became the first footballer to receive his own sub-brand of boots, the Adidas Messi.
Did you Know?
Due to his short stature, Messi has a lower centre of gravity than taller players, which gives him greater agility, allowing him to change direction more quickly and evade opposing tackles; this has led the Spanish media to dub him La Pulga Atómica (“The Atomic Flea”). Despite being physically unimposing, he possesses significant upper-body strength, which, combined with his low centre of gravity and resulting balance, aids him in withstanding physical challenges from opponents; he has consequently been noted for his lack of diving in a sport rife with playacting. His short, strong legs allow him to excel in short bursts of acceleration while his quick feet enable him to retain control of the ball when dribbling at speed. His former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola once stated, “Messi is the only player that runs faster with the ball than he does without it.” Although he has improved his ability with his weaker foot since his mid-20s, Messi is predominantly a left-footed player; with the outside of his left foot, he usually begins dribbling runs, while he uses the inside of his foot to finish and provide passes and assists. Messi prepares to shoot with his dominant left foot during the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A prolific goalscorer, Messi is known for his finishing, positioning, quick reactions, and ability to make attacking runs to beat the defensive line. He also functions in a playmaking role, courtesy of his vision and precise passing, and is an accurate free kick and penalty kick taker, though his ability on penalties has somewhat deteriorated in recent seasons. His pace and technical ability enable him to undertake individual dribbling runs towards goal, in particular during counterattacks, usually starting from the halfway line or the right side of the pitch. Widely considered to be the best dribbler in the world, and one of the greatest of all time, with regard to this ability, his former Argentina manager Diego Maradona has said of him, “The ball stays glued to his foot; I’ve seen great players in my career, but I’ve never seen anyone with Messi’s ball control.” Beyond his individual qualities, he is also a well-rounded, hard-working team player, known for his creative combinations, in particular with Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. Tactically, Messi plays in a free attacking role; a versatile player, he is capable of attacking on either wing or through the centre of the pitch. His favoured position in childhood was the playmaker behind two strikers, known as the enganche in Argentine football, but he began his career in Spain as a left-winger or left-sided forward. Upon his first-team debut, he was moved onto the right wing by manager Frank Rijkaard; from this position, he could more easily cut through the defence into the middle of the pitch and curl shots on goal with his left foot, rather than predominantly cross balls for teammates. Under Guardiola and subsequent managers, he most often played in a false nine role; positioned as a centre-forward or lone striker, he would roam the centre, often moving deep into midfield and drawing defenders with him, in order to create and exploit spaces for passes, dribbling runs or combinations with Xavi and Iniesta. Under the stewardship of Luis Enrique, Messi returned to playing in the right-sided position that characterised much of his early career, while also being deployed in a deeper, free role. With the Argentina national team, Messi has similarly played anywhere along the frontline; under various managers, he has been employed on the right wing, as a false nine, or in a deeper, creative role as a classic number 10 or attacking midfielder.
Things to Know:
This shirt was worn by Lionel Messi during the home game at Camp Nou in Barcelona on May 10th 2009 against Villarreal. The shirt was worn in the second half of the game and he swapped after the match with a CdF Villarreal’s player who we got this shirt from. The shirt is hand signed and dedicated.
May 10th 2010
Barcelona vs Villarreal
Match Worn & Signed Shirt
Did you Know?
In his first uninterrupted campaign, the 2008–09 season, he scored 38 goals in 51 games, contributing alongside Eto’o and winger Thierry Henry to a total of 100 goals in all competitions, a record at the time for the club.During his first season under Barcelona’s new manager, former captain Pep Guardiola, Messi played mainly on the right wing, like he had under Rijkaard, though this time as a false winger with the freedom to cut inside and roam the centre. During the Clásico on 2 May 2009, however, he played for the first time as a false nine, positioned as a centre-forward but dropping deep into midfield to link up with Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. He assisted with a chip his side’s first goal and scored twice to end the match in an emphatic 6–2 victory, the team’s greatest-ever score at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Returning to the wing, he played his first final since breaking into the first team on 13 May, scoring once and assisting a second goal as Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 4–1 to win the Copa del Rey. With 23 league goals from Messi that season, Barcelona became La Liga champions three days later and achieved its fifth double. As the season’s Champions League top scorer with nine goals, the youngest in the tournament’s history, Messi scored two goals and assisted two more to ensure a 4–0 quarter-final victory over Bayern Munich. He returned as a false nine during the final on 27 May in Rome against Manchester United. Barcelona were crowned champions of Europe by winning the match 2–0, the second goal coming from a Messi header over goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Barcelona thus achieved the first treble in the history of Spanish football. This success was reflected in a new contract, signed on 18 September, which committed Messi to the club through 2016 with a new buyout clause of €250 million, while his salary increased to €12 million. His team’s prosperity continued into the second half of 2009, as Barcelona became the first club to achieve the sextuple, winning six top-tier trophies in a single year. After victories in the Supercopa de España and UEFA Super Cup in August, Barcelona won the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes de La Plata on 19 December, with Messi scoring the winning 2–1 goal with his chest. At 22 years old, Messi won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, both times by the greatest voting margin in each trophy’s history.
Argentina National Team
Fifa World Cup “SOUTH AFRICA 2010”
Match Worn Shin Pads
Did you Know?
Despite their poor qualifying campaign, Argentina were considered title contenders at the World Cup in South Africa. At the start of the tournament, the new formation proved effective; Messi managed at least four attempts on goal during their opening match but was repeatedly denied by Nigeria’s goalkeeper, resulting in a 1–0 win. During the next match, against South Korea, he excelled in his playmaking role, participating in all four goals of his side’s 4–1 victory. As their place in the knockout phase was guaranteed, most of the starters were rested during the last group match, but Messi reportedly refused to be benched. He wore the captain’s armband for the first time in their 2–0 win against Greece; as the focal point of their play, he helped create their second goal to see Argentina finish as group winners. In the round of 16, they defeated Mexico 3–1, with Messi assisting their first goal, a controversial strike that stood despite being offside. Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-final against Germany, at the same stage of the tournament and by the same opponent as four years earlier. Their 4–0 loss was their worst margin of defeat since 1974. FIFA subsequently identified Messi as one of the tournament’s 10 best players, citing his “outstanding” pace and creativity and “spectacular and efficient” dribbling, shooting and passing. Back home, however, Messi was the subject of harsher judgement. As the perceived best player in the world, he had been expected to lead an average team to the title, as Maradona arguably did in 1986, but he had failed to replicate his performances at Barcelona with the national team, leading to the accusation that he cared less about his country than his club
Did you Know?
In the 2011-2012 season, as Messi maintained his goalscoring form into the second half of the season, the year 2012 saw him break several longstanding records. On 7 March, two weeks after scoring four goals in a league fixture against Valencia, he scored five times in a Champions League last 16-round match against Bayer Leverkusen, an unprecedented achievement in the history of the competition. In addition to being the joint top assist provider with five assists, this feat made him top scorer with 14 goals, tying José Altafini’s record from the 1962–63 season, as well as becoming only the second player after Gerd Müller to be top scorer in four campaigns. Two weeks later, on 20 March, Messi became the top goalscorer in Barcelona’s history at 24 years old, overtaking the 57-year record of César Rodríguez’s 232 goals with a hat-trick against Granada.
Match Worn Shirt
“Messi is an alien that dedicates himself to playing with humans” Gianluigi Buffon
Did you Know?
In the season 2012-2013 a double scored on 9 December against Real Betis saw Messi break two longstanding records: he surpassed César Rodríguez’s record of 190 league goals, becoming Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in La Liga, and Gerd Müller’s record of most goals scored in a calendar year, overtaking his 85 goals scored in 1972 for Bayern Munich and Germany. Messi sent Müller a number 10 Barcelona shirt, signed “with respect and admiration”, after breaking his 40-year record. At the close of the year, Messi had scored a record 91 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and Argentina. Although FIFA did not acknowledge the achievement, citing verifiability issues, he received the Guinness World Records title for most goals scored in a calendar year.
Things to Know:
The 2014 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match that took place on 13 July 2014 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to determine the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion. Germany defeated Argentina 1–0 in extra time, with the only goal being scored by Mario Götze, who collected André Schürrle’s cross from the left on his chest before volleying a high left-footed shot into the net. The match was the third final between the two countries, a World Cup record, after their 1986 and 1990 matches, and billed as the world’s best player (Lionel Messi) versus the world’s best team (Germany). Before the match, Germany had reached the World Cup final seven times (six times as West Germany from 1954 to 1990), winning three (1954, 1974, 1990) and being runners-up four times (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002); Argentina had reached four finals, winning twice (1978, 1986) and placing second twice (1930, 1990). The result marked Germany’s fourth World Cup title and their first World championship as a unified nation. The victory meant that three consecutive World Cups have been won by teams from the same continent, following Italy and Spain in 2006 and 2010 respectively, the first time this has happened in World Cup history. It was also the first time that three consecutive World Cup finals were still tied after 90 minutes. The final marked the first time a World Cup in the Americas was not won by a team from the Americas. In the winning German team, Miroslav Klose, who had become the top scorer in World Cup history in the semi-final victory over Brazil, became one of the very few players ever to have won gold, silver and bronze medals in the World Cup (bronze in 2006 and 2010, silver in 2002 and gold in 2014), joining a club with such players as Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Wolfgang Overath (1966–1974).
Fifa World Cup “BRAZIL 2014”
Argentina vs Germany
Match Worn Shirt
Did you Know?
Ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, doubts persisted over Messi’s form, as he finished an unsuccessful and injury-plagued season with Barcelona. At the start of the tournament, however, he gave strong performances, being elected man of the match in their first four matches. In his first World Cup match as captain, he led them to a 2–1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina; he helped create their early opening goal and scored their second strike after a dribble past three players, his first World Cup goal since his debut in the tournament eight years earlier. During the second match against Iran, he scored an injury-time goal from 23 metres out to end the game in a 1–0 win, securing their qualification for the knockout phase. He scored twice in the last group match, a 3–2 victory over Nigeria, his second goal from a free kick, as they finished first in their group. Messi assisted a late goal in extra time to ensure a 1–0 win against Switzerland in the round of 16, before starting the play that led to their match-winning 1–0 goal in the quarter-final against Belgium, helping Argentina progress to the semi-final of the World Cup for the first time since 1990. Following a 0–0 draw in extra time, they eliminated the Netherlands 4–2 in a penalty shootout to reach the final. Billed as Messi versus Germany, the world’s best player against the best team, the final was a repeat of the 1990 final featuring Diego Maradona. Within the first half-hour, Messi had started the play that led to a goal, but it was ruled offside. He missed several opportunities to open the scoring throughout the match, in particular at the start of the second half when his breakaway effort went wide of the far post. Substitute Mario Götze finally scored in the 113th minute, followed in the last minute of extra time by a free kick that Messi sent over the net, as Germany won the match 1–0 to claim the World Cup. At the conclusion of the final, Messi was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. In addition to being the joint third-highest goalscorer, with four goals and an assist, he created the most chances, completed the most dribbling runs, made the most deliveries into the penalty area and produced the most throughballs in the competition. However, his selection drew criticism due to his lack of goals in the knockout round; FIFA President Sepp Blatter expressed his surprise, while Maradona suggested that Messi had undeservedly been chosen for marketing purposes.
Watch World Cup Final 2014 highlights
Things to Know:
At the start of 2015, Barcelona were perceived to be headed for another disappointing end to the season, with renewed speculation in the media that Messi was leaving the club. A turning point came on 11 January during a 3–1 victory over Atlético Madrid, the first time Barça’s attacking trident of Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar, dubbed “MSN”, each scored in a match, marking the beginning of a highly successful run. After five years of playing in the centre of the pitch, Messi had returned to his old position on the right wing late the previous year, by his own suggestion according to Suárez, their striker. From there, he regained his best – arguably his best-ever – form, while Suárez and Neymar ended the team’s attacking dependency on their star player. With 58 goals from Messi, the trio scored a total of 122 goals in all competitions that season, a record in Spanish football.
Did you Know?
Under new manager and former captain Luis Enrique, Messi experienced a largely injury-free start to the 2014–15 season, allowing him to break three more longstanding records towards the end of the year. A hat-trick scored against Sevilla on 22 November made him the all-time top scorer in La Liga, as he surpassed the 59-year record of 251 league goals held by Telmo Zarra. A third hat-trick, scored against city rivals Espanyol on 7 December, allowed him to surpass César Rodríguez as the all-time top scorer in the Derbi barceloní with 12 goals. Messi again placed second in the FIFA Ballon d’Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, largely owing to his second-place achievement with Argentina at the World Cup. At the start of 2015, Barcelona were perceived to be headed for another disappointing end to the season, with renewed speculation in the media that Messi was leaving the club. A turning point came on 11 January during a 3–1 victory over Atlético Madrid, the first time Barça’s attacking trident of Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar, dubbed “MSN”, each scored in a match, marking the beginning of a highly successful run. After five years of playing in the centre of the pitch, Messi had returned to his old position on the right wing late the previous year, by his own suggestion according to Suárez, their striker. From there, he regained his best – arguably his best-ever – form, while Suárez and Neymar ended the team’s attacking dependency on their star player. With 58 goals from Messi, the trio scored a total of 122 goals in all competitions that season, a record in Spanish football. Towards the end of the campaign, Messi scored in a 1–0 away win over Atlético Madrid on 17 May, securing the La Liga title. Among his 43 league goals that season was a hat-trick scored in 11 minutes against Rayo Vallecano on 8 March, the fastest of his senior career; it was his 32nd hat-trick overall for Barcelona, allowing him to overtake Telmo Zarra with the most hat-tricks in Spanish football. As the season’s top assist provider with 18 he surpassed Luís Figo with the most assists in La Liga; he made his record 106th assist in a fixture against Levante on 15 February, in which he also scored a hat-trick. Messi scored twice as Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 3–1 in the Copa del Rey final on 30 May, achieving the sixth double in their history. His opening goal was hailed as one of the greatest in his career; he collected the ball near the halfway line and beat four opposing players, before feinting the goalkeeper to score in a tight space by the near post. In the Champions League, Messi scored twice and assisted on another in their 3–0 semi-final victory over Bayern Munich, now under the stewardship of Guardiola. His second goal, which came only three minutes after his first, saw him chip the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after his dribble past Jérôme Boateng had made the defender drop to the ground; it went viral, becoming the year’s most tweeted about sporting moment, and was named the best goal of the season by UEFA. Despite a second-leg loss, Barcelona progressed to the final on 6 June in Berlin, where they defeated Juventus 3–1 to win their second treble, becoming the first team in history to do so. Although Messi did not score, he participated in each of his side’s goals, particularly the second as he forced a parried save from goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon from which Suárez scored the match-winning goal on the rebound. In addition to being the top assist provider with six assists, Messi finished the competition as the joint top scorer with ten goals, which earned him the distinction of being the first player ever to achieve the top scoring mark in five Champions League seasons. For his efforts during the season, he received the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for a second time.
February 24th 2015
Manchester City vs Barcelona
Match Worn Shirt
Things to Know:
This shirt was worn by Lionel Messi in the first half of the Champions League game between Manchester City and Barcelona which took place in Manchester, Etihad Stadium, on February 24th 2015. Barcelona defeated Manchester City 2-1 with Luis Suarez scoring two goals. Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick at minute 94th. The shirt was swapped by Messi with a Manchester City player who we got the shirt from.
Did you Know?
Following the FIFA World Cup “RUSSIA 2018” tournament, Messi stated that he would not participate in Argentina’s friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia in September 2018, and commented that it would be unlikely that he would represent his nation for the remainder of the calendar year. Messi’s absence from the national team and his continued failure to win a title with Argentina prompted speculation in the media that Messi might retire from international football once again. In March 2019, however, he was called up to the Argentina squad once again for the team’s friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco later that month. He made his international return on 22 March, in a 3–1 friendly defeat to Venezuela, in Madrid. On 21 May 2019, Messi was included in Lionel Scaloni’s final 23-man Argentina squad for the 2019 Copa América.
Did you Know?
Often considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as the greatest of all time, Messi is the first player in history to win six FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, four of which he won consecutively. At the end of the season 2017/2018 Messi won the European Golden Shoe keeping his record of 5 European Golden Shoes won in his career after the 2009/2010, 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2016/2017 editions.