Name: Lionel Andrés Messi
Place of birth: Santa Fe (Argentina)
This Argentinian striker's footballing career started in 1995 at Newell's Old Boys, where he played until the year 2000. At the age of 13, Lionel Messi crossed the Atlantic to try his luck in Barcelona, and joined the Under 14s.
Messi made spectacular progress at each of the different age levels, climbing through the ranks of the different youth teams and then Barça C, followed by Barça B and the first team in record time.
In the 2003-2004 season, when he was still only 16, Messi made his first team debut in a friendly with Porto that marked the opening of the new Dragao stadium. The following championship-winning season, Messi made his first appearance in an official match on October 16, 2004, in Barcelona's derby win against Espanyol at the Olympic Stadium (0-1).
With several first team players seriously injured, the services of several reserve team players were called upon, and Messi became a regular feature of Barça squads. On May 1, 2005, he became the youngest player ever to score a league goal for FC Barcelona - against Albacete when Messi was only 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old. That record would eventually be beaten by Bojan.
At the Under 20 World Cup in Holland, Messi not only won the title with Argentina, but was also the leading goalscorer and was voted best player in the tournament. Aged 18 years, he had become one of the hottest properties in the world game. Shortly after, he made his first full international appearance in a friendly against Hungary.
His breakthrough as a player came in the 2005-06 season, starting with an amazing performance in
the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus. He was also outstanding at the Santiago Bernabéu, in
Barcelona's unforgettable 3-0 win, and also at Stamford Bridge, in the Champions League match
against Chelsea. Injury kept him sidelined for much of the latter stage of the season. Messi played
a total of 17 league games, 6 in the Champions League and 2 in the Copa del Rey. Messi scored eight
Messi is an unusual player. He is highly creative, and has the skills to take on defenders with ease. He is a versatile left-footed player who can play either in the middle or on either wing, or even as a centre forward.
Although he is quite short, he is so fast and physically strong that he can cope with larger opponents. He is incredibly powerful, and a specialist in such dead ball situations as corners, free kicks and penalties.
Leo Messi is cool-headed and able to assume several responsibilities in times of need. He is a player who is destined to have a very successful career in football.
2006-07 Spanish Supercup
2005-06 Champions League
2005-06 Spanish Supercup
Argentinian National Team
2004-05 World Cup Under-20