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George Weah

Kaka

Gianfranco Zola

Didier Drogba

 

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World Cup Football

Lionel Messi

Lionel Andrés Messi (born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine footballer who currently plays for La Liga team Barcelona and the Argentine national team. Messi is considered to be one of the best football players of his generation,[3][4][5] having received several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21.[6][7][8]
 

His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to football legend Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor".[9][10]

Lionel Messi soccer player in 2009

Source.

Messi Training in 2009

Messi began playing football at a young age and his potential was quickly identified by Barcelona. He left Rosario-based Newell's Old Boys's youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe, as Barcelona offered treatment for his growth hormone deficiency. Making his debut in the 2004–05 season, he broke the La Liga record for the youngest footballer to play a league game, and also the youngest to score a league goal.

Comment "Messi is just too good. Tony I, Papua New Guinea"

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Major honours soon followed as Barcelona won La Liga in Messi's debut season, and won a double of the league and UEFA Champions League in 2006. His breakthrough season was in 2006–07: he became a first team regular, scoring a hat-trick in El Clásico and finishing with 14 goals in 26 league games. Perhaps his most successful season was the 2008–09 season, in which Messi scored 38 goals to play an integral part in a treble winning campaign.

Messi was the top scorer with six goals, including two in the final game of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. Shortly thereafter, he became an established member of Argentina's senior international team. In 2006 he became the youngest Argentine to play in the FIFA World Cup and he won a runners-up medal at the Copa América tournament the following year. In 2008, in Beijing, he won his first international honour, an Olympic gold medal, with the Argentina Olympic football team.

Early life

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Messi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, to parents Jorge Messi, a factory worker, and Celia (née Cuccitini), a part-time cleaner.[11][12] His paternal family originates from the Italian city of Ancona where his ancestor, Angelo Messi, emigrated to Argentina in 1883.[13][14] He has two older brothers named Rodrigo and Matías as well as a sister named Maria Sol.[15] At the age of five, Messi started playing football for Grandoli, a local club coached by his father Jorge.[16] In 1995, Messi switched to Newell's Old Boys who were based in his home city Rosario.[16] At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency.[17] Primera División club River Plate showed interest in Messi's progress, but did not have enough money to pay for the treatment, as it cost $900 a month.[12] Carles Rexach, the sporting director of Barcelona, had been made aware of his talent as Messi had relatives in Catalonia, and Messi and his father were able to arrange a trial.[12] Barcelona signed him after watching him play,[18] offering to pay for the medical bills if he was willing to move to Spain.[16] His family moved to Europe and he started in the club's youth teams.[18]

Club career

Barcelona

Messi made his unofficial debut for the first team in a friendly match against Porto on 16 November 2003 (at 16 years and 145 days).[19][20] Less than a year later, he made his league debut against Espanyol on 16 October 2004 (at 17 years and 114 days), becoming the third-youngest player ever to play for Barcelona and youngest club player who played in La Liga (a record broken by team mate Bojan Krkić in September 2007).[1][19] When he scored his first senior goal for the club against Albacete on 1 May 2005, Messi was 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old, becoming the youngest to ever score in a La Liga game for Barcelona[21] until 2007 when Bojan Krkić broke this record, scoring from a Messi assist.[22]

2005–06 season

"Messi I think is like me, he is the best in the world along with Ronaldinho."
Diego Maradona.[23]

On 16 September, for the second time in three months, Barcelona announced an update to Messi's contract – this time improved to pay him as a first team member and extended until June 2014.[16] Messi obtained Spanish citizenship on 26 September[24] and was finally able to make his debut in the season's Spanish First Division. Messi's first home outing in the UEFA Champions League came on 27 September against Italian club Udinese.[19] Fans at Barcelona's stadium, the Camp Nou, gave Messi a standing ovation upon his substitution, as his composure on the ball and passing combinations with Ronaldinho had paid dividends for Barcelona.[25]

Messi netted six goals in seventeen league appearances, and scored one Champions League goal in six. His season ended prematurely on 7 March 2006, however, when he suffered a muscle tear in his right thigh during the second leg of the second round Champions League tie against Chelsea.[26] Barcelona ended the season as champions of Spain and Europe.[27][28]

2006–07 season

In the 2006–07 season, Messi established himself as a regular first team player, scoring 14 times in 26 matches.[29] On 12 November, in the game against Real Zaragoza, Messi suffered a broken metatarsal, ruling him out for three months.[30][31] Messi recuperated from his injury in Argentina, and his return to action came against Racing Santander on 11 February,[32] where he came on as a second-half substitute. On 11 March, El Clásico saw Messi in top form, scoring a hat-trick to earn 10-man Barcelona a 3–3 draw, equalising three times, with the final equaliser coming in injury time.[33] In doing so he became the first player since Iván Zamorano (for Real Madrid in the 1994–95 season) to score a hat-trick in El Clásico.[34] Messi is also the youngest player ever to have scored in this fixture (scheduled match). Towards the end of the season he began finding the net more often; 11 of his 14 league goals for the season came from the last 13 games.[35]

Messi also proved the "new Maradona" tag was not all hype, by near-replicating Maradona's most famous goals in the space of the single season.[36] On 18 April 2007, he scored two goals during a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe, one of which was very similar to Maradona's famous goal against England at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, known as the Goal of the Century.[37] The world's sports press drew comparisons with Maradona, and the Spanish press labelled Messi as "Messidona".[38] He ran about the same distance, 62 metres (200 ft), beat the same number of players (six, including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag just as Maradona did in Mexico 21 years before.[36] In a press conference after the game, Messi's team-mate Deco said: "It was the best goal I have ever seen in my life."[39] Against Espanyol Messi also scored a goal which was remarkably similar to Maradona's goal against England in the World Cup quarter-finals. Messi launched himself at the ball and connected with his hand to guide the ball past the goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.[40] Despite protests by Espanyol players and replays showing it was clear handball, the goal stood.[40]

During the 2007–08 season, Messi scored five goals in a week leading Barcelona to the top four in La Liga. On 19 September he scored once as Barcelona defeated Olympique Lyonnais 3–0 at home in a Champions League match.[41] He scored two goals against Sevilla on 22 September[42] and then on 26 September, Messi scored another two goals in a 4–1 victory over Real Zaragoza.[43] On 27 February, Messi played in his 100th official match for Barça against Valencia.[44]

He was nominated for a FIFPro World XI Player Award under the category of Forward.[45] A poll conducted in the online edition of the Spanish newspaper Marca had him as the best player in the world with 77 percent of the vote.[46] Columnists from Barcelona-based newspapers El Mundo Deportivo and Sport stated that the Ballon d'Or should be given to Messi, a view supported by Franz Beckenbauer.[47] Football personalities such as Francesco Totti have declared that they consider Messi to be one of the current best footballers in the world.[48]

Messi was sidelined for six weeks following an injury on 4 March when he suffered a muscle tear in his left thigh during a Champions League match against Celtic. It was the fourth time in three seasons that Messi suffered this type of injury.[49]

2008–09 season

Upon Ronaldinho's departure from the club, Messi inherited his number 10 jersey.[50] On 1 October 2008, during a Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, Messi scored two goals during the last seven minutes, after coming on as a substitute for Thierry Henry, to turn the score from 1–0 to a 1–2 victory for Barcelona.[51] The next league game was versus Atlético Madrid, a match billed as a friendly battle between Messi and his good friend Sergio Agüero.[52] Messi scored a goal from a free kick and assisted another as Barça went on to win the match 6–1.[53] Messi netted another impressive brace against Sevilla scoring a volley from 23 metres (25 yd) and then dribbling round the goalkeeper and scoring from a tight angle for the other.[54] On 13 December 2008, during the first Clásico of the season, Messi scored the second goal in Barcelona's 2–0 win over Real Madrid.[55] He was also named second in the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year awards with 678 points.[7]

Messi scored his first hat-trick of 2009 in a Copa del Rey tie against Atlético Madrid which Barcelona won 3–1.[56] Messi scored another important double on 1 February 2009, coming on as a second half substitute to help Barcelona defeat Racing Santander 1–2 after being 1–0 down. The second of the two strikes was Barcelona's 5000th league goal.[57] In the 28th round of La Liga, Messi scored his 30th goal of the season in all competitions, helping his team to a 6–0 victory over Málaga CF in the process.[58] On 8 April 2009, he scored twice against Bayern Munich in the Champions' League, setting a personal record of nine goals in the competition.[59] On 18 April, Messi notched his 20th league goal of the season in a 1–0 win at Getafe, allowing Barcelona to maintain their six point advantage at the top of the league table over Real Madrid.[60]

As Barcelona's season was drawing to a close, Messi scored twice (his 35th and 36th goals in all competitions) to cap a 6–2 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu[61] in what was Real's heaviest defeat since 1930.[62] After scoring each goal, he ran towards the fans and the cameras lifting up his Barcelona jersey and showing another T-shirt that read Síndrome X Fràgil, Catalan for Fragile X Syndrome, to show his support for children who suffer from the affliction.[63] Messi was involved in the build-up to Andrés Iniesta's injury time goal against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final to send Barcelona through to face Manchester United in the final. He won his first Copa del Rey on 13 May, scoring one goal and assisting another two, in a 4–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.[64] He helped his team win the double by winning La Liga. On 27 May he helped Barcelona win the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final by scoring a second goal in the 70th minute giving Barcelona a two goal lead; he also became the top scorer in the Champions League with nine goals.[65] Messi also won the UEFA Club Forward of the Year: and the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year rounding off a spectacular year in Europe.[66] This victory meant Barcelona had won the Copa del Rey, La Liga and UEFA Champions League in the one season,[67] and was the first time a Spanish club had ever won the treble.[68]

2009–10 season

After winning the 2009 UEFA Super Cup, Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola asserted that Messi was probably the best player he had ever seen.[69]

On 18 September, Messi signed a new contract with Barcelona, running until 2016 and with a buy-out clause of €250 million included, making Messi the highest paid player in La Liga, with earnings of around €9.5 million yearly.[70][71] Four days later, on 22 September, Messi scored two goals and assisted another in Barça's 4–1 win over Racing Santander in La Liga.[72] Messi scored his first European goal of the season on 29 September in a 2–0 win over Dynamo Kyiv.[73] Messi took his goal tally to six goals in seven games in La Liga with a strike during a 6–1 rout over Real Zaragoza at Camp Nou,[74][75] and also scored a penalty in Barça's 4–2 win over Mallorca at the Camp Nou on 7 November.[76] On 1 December 2009, Messi was named winner of the 2009 Ballon d'Or, beating runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo by a huge margin of 473 to 233.[77][78][79] Afterwards, France Football magazine quoted Messi as saying: "I dedicate it to my family. They were always present when I needed them and sometimes felt even stronger emotions than me."[80] On 19 December, Messi scored the winner in the final of the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes in Abu Dhabi.[81] Two days later, he was given the FIFA World Player of the Year award; beating Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi, Kaká and Andrés Iniesta to the award. This was the first time he had won the award, and he became the first Argentinean to ever receive this honour.[82] On 10 January 2010, Messi scored his first hat-trick in 2010 and his first hat-trick of the season against CD Tenerife in the 0-5 victory.[83] On 17 January 2010, Messi scored his 100th goal for the club in the 4-0 victory over Sevilla FC.[84]

International career

In June 2004, he debuted for Argentina, playing in an under-20 friendly match against Paraguay.[85] In 2005 he was part of a team that won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. There, he won the Golden Ball and the Golden Shoe.[86]

He made his full international debut on 17 August 2005 against Hungary at 18 years of age. He was substituted on during the 63rd minute, but was sent off on the 65th minute because the referee, Markus Merk, found he had elbowed defender Vilmos Vanczák, who was tugging Messi's shirt. The decision was contentious and Maradona even claimed the decision was pre-meditated.[87][88] Messi returned to the team on 3 September in Argentina's 1–0 World Cup qualifier away defeat to Paraguay. Ahead of the match he had said "This is a re-debut. The first one was a bit short."[89] He then started his first game for Argentina against Peru; after the match Pekerman described Messi as "a jewel".[90]

On 28 March 2009, in a World Cup Qualifier against Venezuela, Messi wore the Argentine number 10 jersey for the first time. This match was the first official match for Diego Maradona as the Argentina coach. Argentina won the match 4–0 with Lionel Messi opening the scoring.[91]

2006 FIFA World Cup

The injury that kept Messi from playing for two months at the end of the 2005–06 season jeopardised his presence in the World Cup. Nevertheless, Messi was selected in the Argentina squad for the tournament on 15 May 2006. He also played in the final match before the World Cup against the Argentine U-20 team for 15 minutes and a friendly match against Angola from the 64th minute.[92][93] He witnessed Argentina's opening match victory against Ivory Coast from the substitute's bench.[94] In the next match against Serbia, Messi became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup when he came on as a substitute for Maxi Rodríguez in the 74th minute. He assisted Hernán Crespo's goal within minutes of entering the game and also scored the final goal in the 6–0 victory, making him the youngest scorer in the tournament and the sixth youngest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup.[95] Messi started in Argentina's following 0–0 tie against the Netherlands.[96] In the following game against Mexico, Messi came on as a substitute in the 84th minute, with the score tied at 1–1. He appeared to score a goal, but it was ruled offside[97][98] with Argentina needing a late goal in extra time to proceed. Coach José Pekerman left Messi on the bench during the quarter-final match against Germany, which they lost 4–2 on a penalty shootout.[99]

2007 Copa América

Messi played his first game in the Copa América 2007 on 29 June 2007, when Argentina defeated United States 4–1 in the first game. In this game, he showed his capabilities as a playmaker. He set up a goal for fellow striker Hernán Crespo and had numerous shots on target. Tevez came on as a substitute for Messi in the 79th minute and scored minutes later.[100]

His second game was against Colombia, in which he won a penalty that Crespo converted to tie the game at 1–1. He also played a part in Argentina's second goal as he was fouled outside the box, which allowed Juan Roman Riquelme to score from a freekick, and increase Argentina's lead to 3–1. The final score of the game was 4–2 in Argentina's favor and guaranteed them a spot in the tournament's quarterfinals.[101]

In the third game, against Paraguay the coach rested Messi having already qualified for the quarter-finals. He came off the bench in place of Esteban Cambiasso in the 64th minute, with the score at 0–0. In the 79th minute he created a goal for Javier Mascherano.[102] In the quarter-finals, as Argentina faced Peru, Messi scored the second goal of the game, from a Riquelme pass in a 4–0 win.[103] During the semi-final match against Mexico, Messi scored a lob over Oswaldo Sánchez to see Argentina through to the final with a 3–0 win.[104] Argentina went on to lose 3–0 to Brazil in the final.[105]

2008 Summer Olympics

Having barred Messi from playing for Argentina in the 2008 Olympics,[106] Barcelona agreed to release him after he held talks with Josep Guardiola.[107] He joined the Argentina squad and scored the first goal in a 2–1 victory over Ivory Coast.[107] He then scored the opening goal and assisted Ángel Di María in the second to help his side to a 2–1 extra-time win against the Netherlands.[108] He also featured in Argentina's match against rivals Brazil, in which Argentina took a 3–0 victory, thus advancing to the final.[109] In the gold medal match, Messi again assisted Di María for the only goal in a 1–0 victory over Nigeria.[110]

Personal life

Messi was at one stage romantically linked to Macarena Lemos, also from his hometown of Rosario. He is said to have been introduced to her by the girl's father when he returned to Rosario to recover from his injury a few days before the start of the 2006 World Cup.[111][112] He has in the past also been linked to the Argentine model, Luciana Salazar.[113][114] In January 2009 he told "Hat Trick Barça", a programme on Canal 33: "I have a girlfriend and she is living in Argentina, I am relaxed and happy".[114] He was seen with the girl, Antonella Roccuzzo,[115] at a carnival in Sitges after the Barcelona-Espanyol derby. Roccuzzo is a fellow native of Rosario.[116] They plan to wed near the end of 2010.[115]

He is featured on the front cover of the video game Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 and is also involved in promotional campaigns for the game.[117][118] Messi, along with Fernando Torres,[119] is the face of Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, and was also involved in the motion capturing and the trailer.[120][121][122] Messi is sponsored by the German sportswear company Adidas and features in their television advertisements.[123]

He has two cousins in football; Maxi and Emanuel Biancucchi.[124][125]

Honours

Barcelona

  • Spanish League (3): 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09
  • Spanish Cup: (1) 2008–09
  • Spanish Supercup (3): 2005, 2006, 2009
  • UEFA Champions League (2): 2005–06, 2008–09
  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 2009
  • FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2009

International

  • FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2005
  • Olympic Gold Medal: 2008

Individual

  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Top Scorer: 2005
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Player of the Tournament: 2005
  • Copa América Young Player of the Tournament: 2007
  • U-21 European Footballer of the Year: 2007
  • Player of the Year of Argentina: 2005, 2007, 2009
  • FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year: 2006–2007, 2007–2008
  • FIFPro World Young Player of the Year: 2005–2006, 2006–2007, 2007–2008
  • World Soccer Young Player of the Year: 2005–2006, 2006–2007, 2007–2008
  • Premio Don Balón (Best Foreign Player in La Liga): 2006–2007, 2008–2009
  • EFE Trophy (Best Ibero-American Player in La Liga): 2006–2007, 2008–2009
  • FIFPro World XI: 2006–2007, 2007–2008, 2008–2009
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2007–2008
  • FIFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2009
  • UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2008–2009
  • Trofeo Alfredo Di Stéfano: 2008–2009
  • UEFA Club Forward of the Year: 2008–2009
  • UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2008–2009
  • LFP Best Player: 2008–2009
  • LFP Best Striker: 2008–2009
  • Onze d'Or: 2009
  • Ballon d'Or: 2009
  • World Soccer Player of the Year: 2009
  • FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball: 2009
  • Toyota Award: 2009
  • FIFA World Player of the Year: 2009
  • FIFPro World Player of the Year: 2008–09

References and Notes

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Comments

Messi is just too good. Tony I, Papua New Guinea
Nobody can ever replace Leo Messi if u like C.Ronaldo u don't know soccer watch Messi's vids and you will see who better I give Messi 99 1/2 and C.Ronaldo 1/2 vote(s)
messi will prove that he is the worthy winner of the worlds best player this season as kaka, ronaldo and messi are all playin in the spanish league, and already messi is proving he is priceless. Messi is  true legend, hall of fame
none like messi.
just too good
the definition of a forward (striker) is leo messi
this boy can take the ball 2 moon and come back with out loosing the ball.
i think linole messi is the best player
messi messi messi
 messi is the best player and he rocks and he is better than cristiano ronaldo and his skills, sprint, dodges, etc are so good. messi is the best!!!!!!!!!from junaid c
lionel messi is the best player of the world and no body can do his skills and he does the best performance in his every game.
I've been following messi for a long time and I always say to my friends maradona is my favorite player of all time and right now nobody could come close to messi he is the undisputed king in today's game
MESSI IS #1 IN THE WORLD TO GOOD TO BE TRUE COME ON MESSI YOU ROCK
You are the best!!!!
Lionel Messi is my favorite player, he is the best football player in the world at the moment. C. Ronaldo can wait. One thing I love about Messi is that he's a lefty just like me and he plays my positions to. !GO LIONEL MESSI! :) - #15 of the Wolfs
my favourite player in the world
messi is one of my best players in the world...wooooo...u rock mesi
Lionel Messi Best soccer player ever to play. Yes, Pele and Maradona do come close bbut have you heard what they have been saying about Messi? He is the new Maradona watch him take Argentina to the end in 2010 and he will take F.C. Barcelona to the finals in the champions league.
he is simply the best my name is fakhar and i love when he plays for barca and for argentina man u r 2 good !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
He rules the world, u don't need to compare with c.Ronaldo is far better than him. Bello
you rule !!!!!! 1 i wanna have your shoes
best player in world
messi is way better than ronaldo and he is my favourite football player in the world - Callum
he is good but not as c ronaldo presently 4rm emmmmmy
Messi is the best player in the world at the moment. bocakedah
Lionel messi is the best in the world. MY name is DEVINE and im frm South-africa and i can't wait for the 2010 worldcup.i love how leo plays. he is a excellent player and the way he plays is like nothing in the world. Messi is better than ronaldo. c.ronaldo is good but Messi is better, actually he's the best. C.ronaldo dream is to be the best but unfortunately Messi is living he's dream

messi is the best!!!!!

Messi is the world's king of football. no good second. emmanettah. calabar nigeria.

messie is the best footballer because his touch his concentration an his love/passion for the game u r my idol

lionel messi is the best player in the world he is better then c.ronaldo

he is so skilful it is unbelievable he runs so fast he would blow u away his movement with the ball is brill he should be the best player as he is young he has time still i think he is the best by an absolute mile he is better than twistiano ronaldo and he has style with the ball

lionel messi- he is the best and he'll prove it in a couple of yrs time.

lionel messi your one of my favourite players after zidane and giovanni dos santos

I think that messi is the worlds best footballer. at such a young age he has got an amazing touch and hes got all that a legendary striker needs.

You are the best!!!!

messi is amazing!!! he's one of the best players in the world.

He is the best youngest player ever. And the best player in the world now



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Best Footballer in the world

Top Five Players

1. Ronaldo 2. Messi
3. Ronaldinho  4. Pele
5. Gerrard


Vote for the best football player on the planet

stevie gerrard is the best because he can do everything whereas other good players specialise in a few things. Also he works hard and is loyal to club and country.

C.ronaldo is d best footballer

mi jugador es iniesta de espana

I think c ronaldo is the best

ronaldinho he's the master

Christino Ronaldo is the best player of the world. In 47 matches he scored 48 goals in only one year compared to messi who only scored 106 in 159 matches in 6 years. The ballon d'or earned.

my vote is with xavi of barcelona technically he is brilliant. his control vision and touch is first class i hope he wins fifa world player of the year in a week or sos time
Lionel messi is the best playeq in the world by yinkusengine

torres,messi,kaka,cristiono ronaldo,villa and xavi