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10 things to know about Messi

sports Updated: May 03, 2012 23:41 IST
Tomojit Basu

Lionel Messi broke a long-standing record set 39 years ago by German goal-scoring machine Gerd Mueller who had scored 67 in Bayern Munich colours. We list ten things to know about the goal machine.

1.Rosario-born Messi signed his first contract with Barcelona on a used napkin thanks to his father Jorge wanting him to sign up before dinner was done. So Barca's sporting director Carles Rexach asked the restaurant's barman for the napkin that now hangs in Messi's lawyer's office.

2.Barcelona also helped treat the Growth Hormone Deficiency that Messi had been diagnosed with in Argentina.

3.After his terrific performances for Argentina, Messi had been offered a chance to represent Spain but he refused and deprived himself of what could have been a first World Cup medal.

4.Messi's Argentinian debut at the age of 18 on August 17, 2005, against Hungary lasted a mere 47 seconds after referee Markus Merk felt that he had head-butted defender Vilmos Vanczak.

5.He established the Leo Messi Foundation in 2007 to provide education and health-care to impoverished children and even offers trips to Spain to help treat illnesses that may be difficult to treat in Argentina.

6.In March 11, 2010, he was appointed as a global Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the organisation that also has strong ties with Barcelona. Incidentally, it was on the same day that Didier Drogba was named African Player of the Year (just another informative nugget).

7.Messi's also the world's highest paid footballer with his earnings in 2011-12 estimated to be in the region of € 33 million thanks to a gargantuan salary and endorsements with Pepsi and Adidas. David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are second and third on the rich list.

8.He's been named twice in the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world in 2011 and 2012.

9.According to insideworldsoccer.com, Messi started a Facebook page on April 6, 2011, and within a few hours managed to attract upwards on six million fans. He has more than 33 million followers today.

10.Messi resides in the Catalonian coast town of Castelldefels with girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo who hails from his Argentinian hometown. He doesn't smoke, prefers walking his dogs and enjoying his afternoon siesta than an evening jaunt at the pub. His favourite food is Milanesa (a tender Argentinian steak) that he digs into when he heads home during the summer break and every Christmas.