Born and raised in Central America, this football legend's story is inspirational to many. Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini, popularly known as Lionel Messi or simply Messi was born on June 24, 1987, and was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. An Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both Barcelona and the Argentina national team, he is often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
As football fanatics celebrate Messi's 32nd birthday around the world here's looking at why he is often considered to be the greatest by football aficionados.
Messi has a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, four of which he won consecutively.
Messi has a record six European Golden Shoes.
He has always played with Barcelona and has won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey.
Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga with 419 goals and 50 goals in a La Liga and European league season.
He has the most hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League with 8 hattricks, and most assists in La Liga (169) and the Copa América (11).
He has scored over 695 senior career goals for club and country.
According to Sport-English, Messi played against 85 rivals and scored against 76 of them, with Seville being his favourite opponents. The footballer scored a goal in 36 matches of the 37 he played against them.
The goalkeeper who has suffered most against Messi is Diego Alves, who has conceded 21 goals.
The Argentine is also the top scorer in this season’s Champions League with 12 goals in 10 appearances.
By winning the Pichichi award as La Liga’s top scorer for the sixth time, Messi equalled Telmo Zarra’s all-time record which has stood since 1953.