When you hear “best soccer player in the world,” everyone thinks about one name and one name only. Even though there are great contenders for the title like Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini (or Lionel Messi) has it locked in.
Born in 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, Lio always showed superb dribbling and ball control skills which were not unnoticed. At age 11, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, and coming from a low resources family, he could not afford the treatment. That’s when Carles Rexach, sporting director of Futbol Club Barcelona saw his chance. After an easy try out for Lionel Messi, Rexach, having no other paper in hand and aware of the skilled player in front of him, wrote up a contract on a paper napkin. FC Barcelona would pay for Messi’s medical bills if he’d agreed to move to Catalunya and play in the youth teams. So he did, at age 12, Messi moved to Spain with his father, with no money or job on the sight, but only the hope and dreams of a little boy who 18 years later, amazes the world.
Lionel Messi has conquered many records throughout his career. The first one was to be the youngest player (age 17) to score a goal for FC Barcelona and since then no one could stop him. Here are some of the most impressive records he holds.
- Most FIFA Ballon d’Or awards. 4 wins.
- Most goals in a year. 91 goals.
- Most goals scored in a season (club). 73 goals.
- Most UEFA Champions League top scorer awards. 5 times.
- Most consecutive Champions League top scorer awards. 4 times.
- Most goals scored in the UEFA Champions League. 77 goals.
- Most goals scored for Argentina in a year. 12 goals.
- Youngest Argentine player to score at the FIFA World Cup. Age 18.
- Most goals scored in the Spanish League. 283 goals.
- Most goals scored in the Spanish League in a season. 50 goals.
- Most goals scored in the Clásico Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. 21 goals.
- Top goalscorer in Barcelona history. 425 goals and counting (up to June 2nd 2015)
Lionel Messi is worth between 250 and 280 million Euros. Making him the most valuable soccer player in the world, more than 100 million Euros away from the 2nd one, Eden Hazard from Belgium. “In 2007, Messi established the Leo Messi Foundation, a charity supporting access to education and health care for vulnerable children. In response to Messi’s own childhood medical difficulties, the Leo Messi Foundation has offered Argentine children diagnosed with illnesses treatment in Spain and funds covering the transport, hospital and recuperation costs.” (http://lionelmessi10fcb.weebly.com)
After winning all three competitions disputed with Barcelona for the second time, in the 2014/2015 season, Messi is currently playing the Copa America with Argentina. Where an overdue title is needed for him and Argentine people after losing Brazil World Cup 2014’s final against Germany.
We can help you get here with our internship, volunteering, TEFL certification course, Spanish, and study abroad programs- it is easy! So come to Argentina and experience Messi’s birthplace, the culture, and the lifestyle for yourself!