Often considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as one of the greatest players of all time   Messi has won a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, [note 2] four of which he won consecutively, and a record five European Golden Shoes. He has scored over 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 Despite being injury-prone during his early career, he established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, finishing 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 —09 season, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football. His best campaign statistically to date was the —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 The following two seasons, Messi finished twice second for the Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldohis perceived career rival.
Messi regained his best form during the —15 campaign, breaking Vi slar barcelona i ar all-time goalscoring records in both La Liga and the Champions League in November[note 3] and led Barcelona to a historic second treble.
An Argentine international, Messi is his country's all-time leading goalscorer. His style of play as a diminutive, left-footed dribbler drew comparisons with compatriot Diego Maradonawho declared the teenager his successor. As the squad's captain from Augusthe led Argentina to three consecutive finals: After announcing his international retirement inhe reversed his decision and led his country to qualification for the World Cup. On his father's side, he is of Italian and Spanish descent, the great-grandson of immigrants from the northcentral Adriatic Marche region of Italy and Cataloniaand on his mother's side, he has primarily Italian ancestry.
During the six years he played for Newell's, he scored almost goals as a member of "The Machine of '87", the near-unbeatable youth side named for the year of their birth, and regularly entertained crowds by performing ball tricks during half-time of the first team's home games.
As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona in September First team director Charly Rexach immediately wanted to sign him, but the board of directors hesitated; at the time it was highly unusual for European clubs to sign foreign players of such a young age.
On 14 December, an ultimatum was issued for Barcelona to prove their commitment, and Rexach, with no other paper
Vi slar barcelona i ar hand, offered a contract on a paper napkin. During his first year in Spain, Messi rarely played with the Infantiles due to a transfer conflict with Newell's; as a foreigner, he could only be fielded in friendlies and the Catalan league.
Without football, he struggled to integrate into the team; already reserved by nature, he was so quiet that his teammates initially believed he was mute.
During his first full season —03he was top scorer with 36 goals in 30 games for the Cadetes A, who won an unprecedented treble of the league and both the Spanish and Catalan cups. During the —04 seasonhis fourth with Barcelona, Messi rapidly progressed through the club's ranks, debuting for a record five teams in a single campaign. After being named player of the tournament in four international pre-season competitions with the Juveniles B, he played only one official match with the team before being promoted to the Juveniles Awhere he scored 18 goals in 11 league games.
French winger Ludovic Giuly explained how a teenage Leo caught the eye in a training session with Frank Rijkaard 's first team: They were kicking him all over the place to avoid being ridiculed by this kid, he just got up and kept on playing. He would dribble past four players and score a goal.
Even the team's starting centre-backs were nervous. He was an alien. To gain further match experience, Messi joined Barcelona C in addition to the Juveniles A, playing his first game for the third team on 29 November. Towards the end of the season, he returned to both youth teams, helping the Juveniles B win the league. He finished the campaign having scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals in all official competitions.
During the —05 seasonMessi was a guaranteed starter for the B team, playing 17 games throughout the campaign and
Vi slar barcelona i ar on six occasions. On 24 Junehis 18th birthday, Messi signed his first contract as a senior team player. A starter for the first time, he gave a well-received performance against Fabio Capello 's Juventusreceiving an ovation from the Camp Nou.
Due to issues regarding his legal status in the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Messi missed the start of La Liga"Vi slar barcelona i ar" on 26 September, he acquired Spanish citizenship and became eligible to play.
Messi worked to regain fitness in time for the Champions League finalbut on 17 May, the day of the final, he was eventually ruled out. He was so disappointed that he did not celebrate his team's victory over Arsenal in Paris, something he later came to regret.
While Barcelona began a gradual decline, the year-old Messi established himself as one of the best players in the world during the —07 campaign. Already frequently compared to compatriot Diego MaradonaMessi proved their similarity when he nearly replicated Maradona's two most famous goals in the span of three weeks. Rijkaard had fielded him despite warning from the medical staff, leading captain Carles Puyol to criticise the Spanish media for pressuring Messi to play every match.
After two unsuccessful seasons, Barcelona were Vi slar barcelona i ar need of an overhaul, leading to the departure of Rijkaard and Ronaldinho. Upon the latter's departure, Messi was given the number 10 shirt. To combat the problem, the club implemented new training, nutrition, and lifestyle regimens, and assigned him a personal physiotherapist, who would travel with him during call-ups for the Argentina national team.
As a result, Messi remained virtually injury-free during the next four years, allowing him to reach his full potential. In his first uninterrupted campaign, the —09 seasonhe scored 38 goals in 51 games, contributing alongside Eto'o and winger Thierry Henry to a total of goals in all competitions, a record at the time for the club. During his first season under Barcelona's new manager, former captain Pep GuardiolaMessi played mainly on right wing, like he had under Rijkaard, though this time as a false winger with the freedom to cut inside and roam the centre.
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.
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.
Unsatisfied with his position on the right wing, Messi resumed playing as a false nine in earlybeginning with a Champions League last "Vi slar barcelona i ar" match against VfB Stuttgart.
After a first-leg draw, Barcelona won the second leg 4—0 with two goals and an assist from Messi. At that point, he effectively became the tactical focal point of Guardiola's team, and his goalscoring rate increased. A league match on 16 April ended in a draw after a penalty from Messi. After Barcelona lost the Copa del Vi slar barcelona i ar final four days later, "Vi slar barcelona i ar" scored both goals in his side's 2—0 win in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals in Madrid, the second of which — a slaloming dribble past three Real players — was acclaimed as one of the best ever in the competition.
In addition to his 31 goals, Messi was also the league's top assist provider with As Messi developed into a combination of a number 8 a creatora 9 scorerand a 10 assistant he scored an unprecedented 73 goals and provided 29 assists in all club competitions during the —12 seasonproducing a hat-trick or more on 10 occasions. As Messi maintained his goalscoring form into the second half of the season, the year saw him break several longstanding records.
On 7 March, two weeks after scoring four goals in a league fixture against Valenciahe scored five times in a Champions League last round match against Bayer Leverkusenan unprecedented achievement in the history of the competition. Despite Messi's individual form, Barcelona's four-year cycle of success under Guardiola — one of the greatest eras in the club's history — drew to an end. Under manager Tito Vilanovawho had first coached him aged 14 at La MasiaMessi helped the club achieve its best-ever start to a La Liga season during the second half ofamassing 55 points by the competition's midway point, a record in Spanish football.
Barcelona had virtually secured their La Liga title the start ofeventually equalling Real Madrid's point record of the previous season. However, their performances deteriorated in the second half of the —13 campaignconcurrently with Vilanova's absence due to ill health. Vi slar barcelona i ar four largely injury-free seasons, the muscular injuries that had previously plagued Messi reoccurred. After he suffered a hamstring strain on 2 April, during the first quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germainhis appearances became sporadic.
In the second leg against PSG, with an underperforming Barcelona down a goal, Messi came off the bench in the second half and within nine minutes helped create their game-tying goal, which allowed them to progress to the semi-finals. Still unfit, he proved ineffective during the first leg against Bayern Munich and was unable to play at all during the second, as Barcelona were defeated 7—0 on aggregate by the eventual champions.
Messi continued to struggle with injury throughouteventually parting ways with his long-time personal physiotherapist. Statistically, his contribution of goals, shots, and passes had dropped significantly compared to previous seasons. Under new manager and former captain Luis EnriqueMessi experienced a largely injury-free start to the —15 seasonallowing him to break three more longstanding records towards the end of the year. At the start ofBarcelona were perceived to be headed for another disappointing end to the season, with renewed speculation in the media that Messi was leaving the club.
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 LeagueMessi scored twice and assisted on another in their 3—0 semi-final victory over Bayern Munich, now under the stewardship of Guardiola. Messi also won the tournament's Silver Ball, despite missing the semi-final.
On 6 Januaryrecording Barcelona's first goal of the new year, Messi scored two goals and assisted the other two in a 4—1 derby win over Espanyol at the Camp Nou, in the first leg of the round "Vi slar barcelona i ar" 16 of the —16 Copa del Rey.
The feat had only occurred three times before in the club's history, all at Camp de Les Corts. Some people saw it as "a touch of genius", while others criticised it as being disrespectful to the opponent. The Celta players, however, never complained and their coach defended the penalty, stating, "Barca's forwards are very respectful.
Cruyff himself was "very happy" with the play, insisting "it was legal and entertaining".
On 12 November, Messi placed second in the Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who claimed the award for the fourth time. On 4 FebruaryMessi scored his 27th free-kick for Barcelona in a 3—0 home win over Athletic Bilbao in the league, overtaking Koeman as the club's all-time top-scorer from free-kicks. His game-winning goal in stoppage time was his th for Barcelona. In total, Messi finished the —17 season with 54 goals and 16 assists, while his 37 goals in La Liga Vi slar barcelona i ar him claim both the Pichichi and European Golden Boot Awards for the fourth time in his career.
Messi's first goal marked his th in the fixture, becoming the first player ever to achieve this milestone. As a dual Argentine-Spanish national, Messi was eligible to play for the national team of both countries.
Messi declined the offer, having aspired to represent La Albiceleste since childhood. To further prevent Spain from taking him, the Argentine Football Association organised two under friendlies in Juneagainst Paraguay and Uruguay, with the purpose of finalising his status as an Argentina player in FIFA.
Five days after his 17th birthday, on 29 June, he made his debut for his country against Paraguay, scoring once and providing two assists in their 8—0 victory.
He was subsequently included in the squad for the South American Youth Championshipheld in Colombia in February As he lacked the stamina of his teammates, the result of his former growth hormone deficiency, he was used as a substitute in six of the nine games. After being named man of the match against Venezuela, he scored the winning 2—1 goal in the crucial last match against Brazil, thereby securing their third-place qualification for the FIFA World Youth Championship.
Aware of his physical limitations, Messi employed a personal trainer to increase his muscle mass, returning to the squad in an improved condition in time for the World Youth Championship, hosted by the Netherlands in June After he was left out of the starting line-up in their first against the United States, a 1—0 defeat, the squad's senior players asked manager Francisco Ferraro to let Messi start, as they considered him their best player.
After helping the team defeat Egypt and Germany to progress past the group stage, Messi proved decisive in the knockout phase as he scored their equaliser against Colombia, provided a goal and an assist against title favourites Spain, and scored their opening goal against reigning champions Brazil. Ahead of the final, he was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the Vi slar barcelona i ar. He scored two penalties in their 2—1 victory over Nigeria, clinching Argentina's fifth championship and finishing the tournament as top scorer with 6 goals.
During the World Cup in Germany, Messi witnessed their opening match victory against the Ivory Coast from the substitutes' bench. In the next match, against Serbia and Montenegrohe 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.
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Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward . A month later, on 6 March, he made his debut for Barcelona B in the. He signed a new contract in July on an annual salary of € million, "Lionel Messi: Club World Cup triumph proves Barcelona are
Vi slar barcelona i ar in the. Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Spanish architect and is the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism.
Gaudí's works have a highly individualized, and one-of-a- kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Gaudí laid out the site taking account of solar orientation, another signature.