Born on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, the top-ranked football star was named Luis Lionel Andres Messi. Known as one of the greatest footballers in the world, Lionel Messi was born into a middle-class Italian family. Messi, known as ‘The Flea’ due to his speed and agility, is the second richest soccer player in the world with a net worth of $180 million, after Cristiano Ronaldo, who is worth $230 million.
On the personal front, Messi is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo since 2017, and is father to three sons: Thiago Messi, Mateo Messi and Ciro Messi. On his 32nd birthday, here are some fun facts about Lionel Messi that will leave you amazed:
1.The Argentinian footballer was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at a tender age of 11. His parents couldn’t afford his treatment of $900 per month. At the age of 13, Messi signed a contract with FC Barcelona and moved to Spain, and the football club agreed to pay for his treatment.
2. In his first trial with Barcelona in September 2000, the first team director Carles Rexach was so impressed with Messi that he signed him immediately. Having no paper at hand, Messi’s first contract was written on a paper napkin.
3. Messi was a part of the ‘Baby Dream Team’, Barcelona’s greatest ever youth side. During his first full season with that team, Messi was the top scorer with 36 goals in 30 games.
4.He made his debut for FC Barcelona on November 16, 2003, at the age of 17, against RCD Espanyol. Messi became the third youngest person ever to play on Barcelona, and the youngest player to ever score for Barcelona.
5.Messi was pursued by the Royal Spanish Football Federation to join the Spanish Football Team, which he declined.
6. holds two passports – Argentina’s and Spain’s. He became a Spanish citizen in September 2005.
7 .Messi inherited the No. 10 Barca jersey from another great footballer Ronaldinho in the summer of 2008.
8. Messi won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2009. He followed this up by winning the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010, and then again in 2011 and 2012.
9. Apart from being an outstanding player, Messi has also contributed to noble causes. He is the founder of the organization, Leo Messi Foundation, which helps give children the best opportunities for education and health care. He is also the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. He has also worked for people suffering from Fragile X Syndrome, and has donated €600,000 towards the refurbishment of a children’s hospital in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina.
10. Lionel Messi scored his own Hand of God during the 2006/07 season when Barcelona drew 2-2 with Espanyol. It was a goal that was very identical to Diego Maradona’s first goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.