Lionel Andrés Messi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, the third of the four children of Jorge Messi, a steel factory manager, and his wife Celia Cuccittini, who worked in a magnet manufacturing workshop. On his father’s side, he is of Italian and Spanish descent, the great-grandson of immigrants from the northcentral Adriatic Marche region of Italy and Catalonia, and on his mother’s side, he has primarily Italian ancestry. Growing up in a tight-knit, football-loving family, “Leo” developed a passion for the sport from an early age, playing constantly with his older brothers, Rodrigo and Matías, and his cousins, Maximiliano and Emanuel Biancucchi, both of whom became professional footballers. At the age of four he joined local club Grandoli, where he was coached by his father, though his earliest influence as a player came from his maternal grandmother, Celia, who accompanied him to training and matches. He was greatly affected by her death, shortly before his eleventh birthday; since then, as a devout Catholic, he has celebrated his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky in tribute of his grandmother.
He will go down as one of the great Tottenham managers, but have his recent struggles tarnished his legacy? We take a look at the numbers behind his five-year reign.
Early Life and Career
Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini as an Argentine professional footballer, plays as a forward and captains both Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards, and a record six European Golden Shoes. He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey. A prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (438), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (181) and the Copa América (12). He has scored over 700 senior career goals for club and country.
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi relocated to Spain to join Barcelona at age 13, for whom he made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004. He established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, and in his first uninterrupted season in 2008–09 he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football; that year, aged 22, Messi won his first Ballon d’Or. Three successful seasons followed, with Messi winning three consecutive Ballons d’Or, including an unprecedented fourth. During the 2011–12 season, he set the La Liga and European records for most goals scored in a single season, while establishing himself as Barcelona’s all-time top scorer. The following two seasons, Messi finished second for the Ballon d’Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo—his perceived career rival—before regaining his best form during the 2014–15 campaign, becoming the all-time top scorer in La Liga and leading Barcelona to a historic second treble, after which he was awarded a fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015. Messi assumed the captaincy of Barcelona in 2018, and in 2019 he secured a record sixth Ballon d’Or.
As of August 2019, Messi’s all-time highlights for FC Barcelona:
|Shot accuracy: 48 percent|
|Chances created: 348|
|Full Name||Lionel Andrés Messi|
|Date of birth||24 June 1987 (1987-06-24)|
|Place of birth||Rosario, Argentina|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Total club appearances 684||Total Goals 578 (Dec. 2018)|
|Total international appearances 151||Total Goals 81 (Dec. 2018)|
|La Liga titles with Barcelona||(9)|
|UEFA Champions League||(4) 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15|
|FIFA Ballon d’Or/Ballon d’Or||(6)|
|Guinness World Record as top goalscorer for club and country in a calendar year:||91 goals in 2012|
Lionel Messi’s Contract and Salary
In 2017, Messi signed a new contract with FC Barcelona through the 2020-21 season, when he’ll be 34 years old. According to Forbes, he received a $59.6 million signing bonus. and he earns $667,000 per week, for over $80 million annually. Messi’s buyout clause was set at $835 million (€700 million). As of July 2019, Barcelona was set to open talks to negotiate Messi’s subsequent and tenth contract with the club.
Almost universally regarded as the best soccer player in the game, Messi has additionally become the commercial face of soccer with endorsements from Adidas, Pepsi, EA Sports and Turkish Airways, among other companies.
As of 2019, Messi is the world’s highest-paid athlete in the world accounting for salary plus bonuses and endorsements, according to Forbes, bypassing fellow soccer great Ronaldo and basketball star LeBron James.
Tax Fraud Scandal
In July 2016, Messi suffered a blow off the soccer field when a Barcelona court found him and his father guilty of three counts of tax fraud. During a four-day trial, Messi and his father denied breaking the law and claimed they were unaware of any tax illegalities that were committed.
However, they were both sentenced to 21 months in prison. Under Spanish law, first offenses under two years are suspended so they did not go to jail, but Messi was ordered to pay a fine of 2 million euros. His father was required to pay 1.5 million euros.
Lionel Messi’s Wife and Sons
On June 30, 2017, Messi married Antonella Roccuzzo, his longtime girlfriend and the cousin of his best friend and fellow soccer player Lucas Scaglia. Messi and Roccuzzo have two sons together: Thiago, born in November 2012 , and Mateo, born in September 2015.
Messi met Roccuzzo in their hometown of Rosario when he was 5 years old. Their marriage, a civil ceremony dubbed by Argentina’s Clarín newspaper as the “wedding of the century,” was held at a luxury hotel in Rosario, with a number of fellow star soccer players and Colombian pop star Shakira on the 260-person guest list.
Charity and UNICEF
Although famously private off the field, Messi has quietly helped others in need. In 2007, he formed the Leo Messi Foundation to provide opportunities for disadvantaged youths. In early 2010, UNICEF named him a goodwill ambassador, with a focus on fighting for cldren’s rights across the globe.