Lionel Messi has shown remarkable ability for a player so young, and is often touted in the media as "the new Diego Maradona".Updated: Jun 02, 2006 23:25 IST
|Current Club: FC Barcelona|
|Birth Date: June 24, 1987|
|Birth Place: Rosario, Argentina|
|Nickname: Pulga (Flea)|
|Full Name: Lionel Andrés Messi|
Lionel Andrés Messi (born 24 June 1987 in Rosario) is an Argentine football (soccer) player, who currently plays as a second striker for FC Barcelona. He has shown remarkable ability for a player so young, and is often touted in the media as "the new Diego Maradona".
Lionel Messi started playing football at a very early age for his hometown club, Newell's Old Boys. From the age of 11, he suffered from a hormone deficiency and as his parents were unable to pay for treatment in Argentina, they decided to move to Barcelona, Spain.
Shortly after arriving, Lionel tried his luck with a trial at FC Barcelona, despite being only 13 years of age. He excelled at the trial and rapidly found himself starting for the Barcelona B team, averaging more than a goal per game.
In October 2004 Messi made his official debut for the first team against RCD Espanyol, becoming the third-youngest player to ever play for FC Barcelona. He scored his first senior goal for the club against Albacete on 2005-05-01.
He was offered the chance to play for the Spanish national football team, but declined, preferring to wait for the opportunity to play for the country of his birth. In June 2004 he got his chance, playing in an under-20 friendly match against Paraguay.
In June 2005 Messi starred for the Argentina U-20 team that won the Football World Youth Championship in The Netherlands, picking up the Golden Boot as top scorer with 6 goals, and the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament.
Despite his youth, Lionel was already being compared to Diego Maradona, one of the greatest football players of all time. On 2005-06-27 FC Barcelona renewed his contract until 2010, establishing a selling clause of €150 million.
First Published: May 02, 2006 11:50 IST