Lionel Messi Biography: Things you didn’t know about him & net worth

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factswarehouse brings you the full account of Lionel Messi’s Biography, family life,career, net worth and goal scoring moments.

Lionel Messi was born, 24 June 1987, in Rosario, Argentina to a working-class family.

Football is replete with stories of player exploits; game-changing techniques and the like. They thrill the fans, often getting them off their seats. But most of these fans take no time to really find out what these players went through to become the stars that are often celebrated.

For most football greats, the grass to grace story is not uncommon. But none has generated more divisive debate than one player – Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini.

For many, Messi is the G.O.A.T – Greatest Of All Time.

To others he is one of the best footballers in the last decade; not the greatest though.

But to some other fans, he is just a one-man hit wonder who thrives and

flourishes when all team mates play to his strength.

Who is this 5 ft 1-inch man called Messi, the one referred to by the Spanish

media as La Pulga Atómica – The Atomic Flea?

Early Years

Lionel Messi was born in the Argentine City of Rosario to a middle-class family with strong Italian and Catalan ancestry. His father’s name is Jorge and his mother’s name is Ceclia.

Lionel Messi’s first brother’s name is Rodrigo Messi and his second brother’s name is Matias Messi and  sisters name is Maria Sol Messi.

Father Jorge was a factory steel worker and his mother Ceclia worked as a part-time cleaner.

Messi was an introverted kid who was not always a crowd puller. Growing up in football-mad family in Rosario, Messi was a die-hard supporter of City giants Newell’s Old Boys.

His love for football  was made stronger as he constantly joined his older brothers to display his dexterity with the ball, close control and goal-scoring prowess.

His obvious quality quickly drew the attention of Argentine football coaches.

His football career kicked off at the young age of four  when he joined Grandoli.

Despite his small, frail-looking stature Messi was cold-blooded on the pitch and was a terror to other youth teams.

Messi could no longer be hidden, and was soon poached by the youth team of his life-long club Newell’s Old Boys at the age of six years.

Many doubted that he could make the jump due to his looks and build.

“When you saw him, you would think: this kid can’t play ball. He’s a dwarf,

He’s too fragile, too small. But immediately you’d realize that he was born different, that he was a phenomenon and that he was going to be something impressive,”; said youth coach Adrián Coria.

Lionel Messi  unperturbed, stole the hearts of Rosario football lovers as his team lost only once in more than two years.

His goal-scoring prowess became the talk of Rosario as he scored over 400 goals.

Relationship 

Lionel Messi’s relationship with beautifull Antonella Roccuzzo dates back to when he was just five years old. They got to know each other through  Lucas Scaglia, Antonella’s cousin and a very good friend of Messi.

The two grew up in Santa Fe Argentina, just before the young footballer set off to seek international soccer stardom in Barcelona.

By 2008 Antonella Roccuzzo and Messi made their relation official, after a romantic 8 year long relationship.

Lionel Messi’s is presently a father to two boys, namely Thaigo, 4, and Mateo, born in 2015

Health challenge

Messi was set for big time football but sadly the 11-year-old faced a serious

health challenge – growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

That meant Messi would be plagued with stunted growth – unless he underwent

expensive medical treatment consistently along with the use of drug human

growth hormone.

Rosario was now reluctant to hand the young Argentine a full contract because

they were unwilling to pay for the treatment.

One of Argentina’s legacy clubsides Riverplate had initially shown interest in

the skilful speed star, but were put off by his health challenge.

His parents could not afford the daily purchase of the growth hormone drug.

It appeared his football career had ended before it even started.

Costly gamble pays off

There is a saying that when the door closes, a window is opened.

Lionel Messi’s maternal family made contacts with FC Barcelona in Spain with the team’s

technical director Charly Rexach, ready to give Messi a trial…. only if he came

to Spain.

Despite initial reluctance from the Barcelona board, on December 14th 2000

Rexach issued Messi a contract – written on a napkin!

It included Barcelona taking full responsibility for his health treatment. Yet Messi’s struggles were not over.

His family returned to Argentina in 2002 after joining with him in the Catalan

City a year before. Besides his obvious home sickness, Messi had not yet struck any form of

interaction with his team mates – some of whom saw him as dumb!

During his hormonal treatment, Endocrinologist Dr. Diego Schwarzstein, built a

strong relationship with Lionel Messi and after years of supervising his medical

procedures gave his verdict.

 

“Leo is not shy. He’s introverted. He’s reserved,”; he said. Despite all these trials Lionel Messi persevered.

“I made a lot of sacrifices by leaving Argentina, leaving my family to start a new life. But everything I did, I did for football, to achieve my dream. That’s

why I didn’t go out partying, or do a lot of other things,” Lionel Messi recounts.

Rexach’s gamble on the 14-year-old Argentine paid off, as Messi completed his

cycle of hormonal treatment and within a short while he was a member of

Barcelona’s Dream Team.

Messi emerged top scorer with 36 goals in 30 games for the Cadetes A, who

won an unprecedented treble of the league and both the Spanish and Catalan

cups.

 

Barcelona wonder years

Having played for five different teams, Messi made his professional league

debut on October 16, 2004 against RCD Espanyol at the young age of

sixteen.

From there the goals, trophies, awards and accolades started rolling in!

First, he became the youngest goal scorer for FC Barcelona in Spanish La

Liga football when he found the back of the net on May 1, 2005 against

Albacete.

Then followed the La Liga and UEFA Champions League in 2006.

Messi had become a full-team starter and a year later turned the record

books in the world-acclaimed EL-CLASSICO – becoming the youngest

player to score a hat trick in this never-ending rivalry between Barcelona

and Real Madrid.

In 2012, Messi’s 95 goals broke the all-time world record for most goals

scored in a calendar year previously held by German Gerd Muller and Pele.

In total Messi has won nine Spanish La Liga titles; six Cope Del Rey

trophies; seven Supercopa de España triumphs; four UEFA Champions League

victories etc.

On a personal level Messi has five FIFA Ballon d’Or wins, five European

Golden Shoe awards, six La Liga Best Player awards, seven La Liga Best

Forward award, three UEFA Goal of the Season awards, and World

Soccer Greatest XI of All Time.

Despite attempts by club sides in England, Russia and Italy to buy him. Messi

says his heart is permanently with Barcelona.

“Barcelona is my life. They have brought me to where I am today. I could not

leave, I don’t want to leave. I know the Premier League is very good. But I

cannot see myself playing in England because my heart is with Barcelona,

always,” he insists.

 

Playing for Argentina

In 2005 Messi was awarded Spanish citizenship.

This led to speculations that having overseen his football development and

his revival health-wise, Messi would ditch the blue and white of Argentina

for the red jersey of La Furia Roja.

He could have also put on the royal blue Italian jersey since he was directly

of Italian descent.

But Messi never forgot his dream of adorning the iconic number 10 jersey

made famous by the mercurial Diego Armando Maradona.

Despite the physicality associated with International football, Messi featured

for Argentina’s U-20 national team at the FIFA World Youth Championship

in the Netherlands in 2005.

His goal-poaching prowess saw Argentina not only winning the cup, but

had Lionel Messi emerge as  the highest goal scorer with six goals and was also voted the

Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.

Many things were expected of the 18-year-old at the 2006 World Cup hosted

in Germany with many already tipping him to surpass the achievements of

the likes of Pele and Maradona.

But sadly, since his International debut, Lionel Messi has not been able to win a

major trophy for the La Albiceleste, finishing runners-up twice in the Copa

America in 2005 and 2016; he also led Argentina to another runners-up

finish at the FIFA World Cup held in Brazil in 2014.

Despite winning the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal with Argentina, some

football experts argue that not winning the World Cup or any other global

title means he’s only a serial winner – with Barcelona.

After losing the 2014 World Cup final to Germany, Messi said:

“I do not care about the Golden Ball. I am just upset by the wasted chances.

We had the best chances. We knew we could not dominate the game but we

knew what we wanted to do. Right now, I do not care about my prize. I just

wanted to lift the cup and bring it to Argentina. The pain is very great.”

His lack of silverware for Argentina’s senior national team took a more painful

turn when he failed to grab the Copa de Americana in 2016; losing a continental

final for the second straight year to the same team – Chile!

 

This time he announced his International retirement in frustration.

“I tried my hardest. It has been four finals, I want more than anyone to win a

title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen… I think this

is best for everyone, firstly for me and for a lot of people that wish this. The

team has ended for me, a decision made.”;

But public pressure forced him to recant and Messi captained Argentina to

qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

However, the divisions and tensions within the team ensured that Messi might

never win football’s greatest price as Argentina struggled to the second round

and were thrown out by eventual champions France.

That is a sad reality.

Net Worth

Lionel Messi’s net worth is $80 million, making him one of the richest soccer players in the world.

Family man and Humanitarian

Besides having a humble beginning before breaking out on the International

global stage, one thing that stands out Messi is his unquenchable passion for

humanitarian causes.

Through his Leo Messi Foundation, the 31-year-old Argentine legend has

provided support for vulnerable children to have access to education and

health care.

He has also provided hospitals across Argentine hospitals with medical

supplies to treat children with hormonal deficiencies.

Besides being a UNICEF ambassador, Messi has identified with his home

town Rosario by supporting the well-being of children of the city.

On the sporting front Messi has financially supported funds the management

of several youth players at Newell’s Old Boys and rival club Rosario Central, as

well as at River Plate and Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires.

One aspect that has made Messi a reference point is his steady relationship with

Antonella Roccuzzo – the mother of his three children.

Their ten years relationship has been scandal-free with no controversies or

scandals.

 

Messi has ensured his family members play a frontal role in his career – his

father is his agent while his mum supervises his foundation.

Is Lionel Messi really the G.O.A.T?

After winning several individual awards as well as trophies at club and

International youth level, is he really the greatest of all time?

A school of thought thinks man-for-man, Messi is the greatest.

His decision-making prowess in tight situations, his sublime footwork, exquisite

free kicks and exciting goals stand him out amongst the Peles Maradonas and

the Zizzous of this world.

But other analysts insist he has not redeemed himself on the national team stage,

hence, he is good but not great.

They also argue that unlike his main rival Cristiano Ronaldo who has tested his

mettle in Portugal, England, Spain and now Italy, Messi has only played for one

team – Barcelona.

Ronaldo also won the Euros in 2016 with Portugal; Messi has not.

Can it then be said that winning a continental trophy or the FIFA world cup

confers the appellation of G.O.A.T?

Surely that debate will never end – not when a certain Cristiano Ronaldo is

brought into the picture!

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