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24.06.2008 10:00

Happy birthday Messi

Sandra Sarmiento

Leo Messi, who arrived at la Masia when he was just 13 is celebrating his 21st birthday today. Born in Rosario, Argentina, he is now one of the key players on whom Barça’s hopes are pinned.

He made his first team debut when he was just 17, on October 16, 2004 in the city derby at Montjuic, and the fans immediately realised that this player had that something special – fast and accurate, skilful and daring, he is a delight for the football purist.

Incredible Gamper 2005

web_15.jpgIt was at the Gamper 2005, against Juventus, when rival manager Fabio Capello said he was stunned by this amazing youngster, and the packed stadium saluted his terrific performance as they looked forward to a season of Messi at the Camp Nou.

Star in Europe

web_9.jpgWherever he went, the press had nothing but praise for the way he was coming on as a player. Stamford Bridge was the venue for his finest performance in the Champions League of 2005/06 – where the South American ran rings around Chelsea, and Del Horno in particular, as the club marched triumphantly on their way to victory in Paris.

Like Maradona

qm3d7415.jpgThey were already comparing him to greatest Argentine footballer of all when in 2006/07 he scored a goal against Getafe that was almost a carbon copy of that ‘best goal ever’ that Maradona scored against England in Mexico 1986. His solo run through several players to slip the ball past goalkeeper Luis García was shown time and time again on global TV networks that week.

The same season, Messi destroyed Real Madrid with a hat-trick, although the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

Now considered one of the world elite, in December 2007 he was named one of the top three footballers on the planet, a veritable phenomenon has arrived. The only concern with Messi is the way he is so prone to muscle injuries – but he is still in only 21 and if the best is still to come, then Messi has the potential to become one of the finest players ever to grace the sport. Many happy returns!
Happy birthday Messi

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