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Lionel Messi

Lionel Andrés Messi (born June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Province) is an Argentina association football who plays for FC Barcelona in Spanish Primera Liga. Lionel Messi is also a member of the Argentina national football team.

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Lionel Messi biography


Lionel Andrés Messi (born June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Province) is an Argentina association football who plays for FC Barcelona in Spanish Primera Liga. Lionel Messi is also a member of the Argentina national football team.

Lionel Messi has drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, and Maradona himself named Messi Lionel Messi "successor".

Beginnings

At the age of five, Messi started playing football for Grandoli, a club coached by Lionel Messi father. In 1995, Messi switched to Newell's Old Boys. At the age of 11, Lionel Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Club Atlético River Plate showed interest in Messi's progress, but did not have enough money to pay for the treatment of the illness that cost over £500 a month. Carles Rexach, the sporting director of FC Barcelona, was made aware of Messi's talent, and Barcelona signed Lionel Messi after watching Lionel Messi play, When Lionel Messi scored Lionel Messi first senior goal for the club against Albacete Balompié on 1 May 2005, Messi was 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old, becoming the youngest to ever score in a La Liga game for FC Barcelona until 2007 when Bojan Krkić broke this record, a goal assisted by Messi.

2005–2006 season

On 16 September, for the second time in three months, Barcelona announced an update to Messi's contract - this time improved to pay Lionel Messi as a first team member and extended till June 2014. Messi obtained Spanish citizenship on 25 September and was finally able to make Lionel Messi début in the season's La Liga. Lionel Messi had previously been unable to play because FC Barcelona had filled their quota of non-European Union players. Messi's first home outing in the UEFA Champions League came on 27 September against Italian club Udinese. Lionel Messi impressed with some great passing and a seemingly telepathic relationship with Ronaldinho that earned Lionel Messi a standing ovation from the 70,000-odd Nou Camp faithful. In December of that year, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport awarded Lionel Messi the Golden Boy 2005 title for the best under-21 player in Europe, ahead of Lukas Podolski, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi netted 6 goals from 17 league appearances and scored 1 Champions League goal from the 6 games Lionel Messi featured in. Lionel Messi reputation for big match temperament was helped by performances in Barcelona's important away leg victories against Real Madrid C.F. and Chelsea F.C. in the league and Champions League respectively, each considered Lionel Messi best of the respective campaign. Messi's season ended prematurely on 7 March 2006 when Lionel Messi tore a muscle in Lionel Messi right thigh during the second leg of the UEFA Champions League 2005-06 Round of 16 against Chelsea. Barcelona ended the season as champions of Spain and Europe.

2006–2007 season

Consistently strong performances and the occasional goal meant Messi was not starting any more games on the bench. Failure to effectively replace the injured Samuel Eto'o and poor defensive displays prevented Barcelona from taking advantage of Messi's showings against Chelsea and Real Madrid. This would later prove critical to their title challenges. On 12 November, in the game against Real Zaragoza, Messi suffered a broken metatarsal from tackles, ruling Lionel Messi out for 3 months. Messi carried out Lionel Messi recuperation in native Argentina. During this period there were rumours of interest in the player from Internazionale. Messi returned to action against Racing Santander on the 11 February, coming on as a second-half substitute El Clásico saw Messi in top form, scoring a hat-trick to earn 10-man Barcelona a 3-3 draw, equalising thrice and with the final goal coming in injury time. In doing so Lionel Messi became the first player since Iván Zamorano (for Real Madrid in the 1994-95 season) and the first Barcelona player since Romario (1993-94 season) to hit a hat-trick in the El Clásico. Messi is also the youngest player ever to have scored in this fixture. The game also marked the beginning of Messi's best spell of form with Barça. Lionel Messi also began finding the net more often, 11 of Lionel Messi 14 league goals for the season coming from the last 13 games. Despite Lionel Messi spirited efforts, Barcelona felt marginally short in its defence of the La Liga title, Real Madrid winning on a better head-to-head record.

Messi also proved the "new Maradona" tag was not all hype, by near-replicating Maradona's most famous goals in the space of the single season. On 18 April 2007, Lionel Messi scored two goals during a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe CF, one of which was very similar to Maradona's famous goal against England national football team at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, known as the Goal of the Century. The world's sports press exploded with Maradona comparisons, and the Spanish press labelled Messi as "Messidona". Lionel Messi ran about the same distance (62 m), beat the same number of players (six, including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag just as Maradona did in Mexico 21 years before. In a press conference after the game, Messi's team-mate Deco said: "There's no other like Leo." Later on, in a crucial league match with Espanyol, Messi scored a goal with Lionel Messi hand that drew even more comparisons to Maradona's Hand of God goal.

2007–2008 season

Messi scored five goals in a week leading Barcelona to the top four in La Liga. Lionel Messi dedicated the two goals Lionel Messi scored against FC Sevilla on 22 September to Ronaldinho, who was injured and under fire from media outlets at the time. A few days earlier Lionel Messi had scored as Barcelona defeated Olympique Lyonnais 3-0 at home in a Champions League match and then on 26 September, Messi scored another goal in a 4-1 victory over Real Zaragoza.

Lionel Messi has been nominated for a FIFPro World XI under the category of Forward. A recent poll conducted in the online edition of the Spanish newspaper Diario Marca has Lionel Messi as the current best player of the world with 77 percent of the votes. Also, other columnists from Barcelona-based newspapers El Mundo Deportivo and Sport (newspaper) began asking for the Ballon d'Or to be given to Leo Messi this year. This observation was also made by world soccer legends Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. Various football personalities such as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Frank Rijkaard, Víctor Fernández, Bernd Schuster, José María Gutiérrez, Raul, Gianluca Zambrotta, Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano, Diego Maradona and Pelé have all, at one time or another, declared that they consider Messi to be one of the current best footballers in the world.

On 27 February Messi played in Lionel Messi 100th official match for FC Barcelona.

Barcelona's medical staff decided to sideline Messi for six weeks following an injury on 4 March where Lionel Messi experienced a muscle tear in Lionel Messi left thigh during a Champions League match against Celtic. Messi left the field at the Nou Camp in the 35th minute with tears in Lionel Messi eyes. It was the fourth time in three seasons that the player suffered this type of injury.

2008–2009 season

It was announced that Messi will inherit Ronaldinho's number 10 jersey after the Brazilian left for AC Milan. On 1 October 2008 during a Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk Messi scored two goals during the last seven minutes after coming on as a substitute for Thierry Henry, to turn the score from 0-1 to a victory for FC Barcelona 2-1. The next league game was versus Atletico Madrid, a match billed as a friendly battle between Lionel and good friend Sergio Aguero. Messi scored a goal from a free kick and assisted another as FC Barcelona went on to win the match 6-1.

International career

In June 2004, Lionel Messi got Lionel Messi first chance in Argentina colours, playing in an under-20 friendly match against Paraguay national football team. In 2005 Lionel Messi was part of the team that won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. Here, Lionel Messi won the prize for best player of the tournament and became top-scorer.

On 4 August 2005, José Pekerman called Messi up to the senior Argentina national football team. Lionel Messi made Lionel Messi debut on 17 August 2005 against Hungary national football team, but it was a forgettable occasion. Lionel Messi was substituted on during the 63rd minute, but was sent off after just 40 seconds because the referee, Markus Merk, found Lionel Messi had elbowed defender Vilmos Vanczák, who was tugging Messi's shirt, and left the pitch in tears. The decision was contentious. Diego Maradona even claimed the decision was pre-meditated. Messi then had Lionel Messi first international start on 3 September in Argentina's 0-1 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONMEBOL) away loss against Paraguay national football team. Ahead of the match Lionel Messi had said "This is a re-début. The first one was a bit short."

FIFA World Cup 2006

The injury that kept Lionel Messi from playing for two months at the end of the 2005–06 season jeopardised Lionel Messi presence in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Nevertheless, Messi was selected in the Argentina squad for the tournament on 15 May 2006. Lionel Messi also played in the farewell match against the Argentinian U-20 team for fifteen minutes and a friendly against Angola national football team from the 64th minute.
Lionel Messi witnessed Argentina national football team's opening match victory against Côte d'Ivoire national football team from the bench. In the next match against Serbia and Montenegro national football team, Messi became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup when Lionel Messi came on as a substitute for Maximiliano Rodríguez in the 74th minute. Lionel Messi assisted Hernán Crespo's goal within minutes of entering the game and also scored the final goal in the 6-0 victory, that made Lionel Messi the youngest scorer in the tournament and the fifth youngest goalscorer in the whole FIFA World Cup. Messi started in Argentina's following 0-0 tie against the Netherlands national football team.
In the following 2006 FIFA World Cup knockout stage Argentina vs Mexico, Messi came on as a substitute in the 84th minute, with the score tied 1-1. Lionel Messi appeared to score a goal, but was ruled offside in a dubious decision, Argentina needing an extra time winner to proceed. Messi sat on the bench during the quarter-finals match against Germany national football team, which Argentina lost in a penalty shootout.

Copa America 2007

When Copa America started Leo was the youngest player in the tournament. Messi played Lionel Messi first game in Copa America on 29 June 2007, when Argentina national football team defeated United States men's national soccer team 4-1 in the first game. In this game, Messi showed Lionel Messi capabilities as a playmaker. Lionel Messi set up a goal for fellow striker Hernán Crespo and had numerous shots on target. Tevez came on as a substitute for Messi in the 79th minute and scored minutes later.

Lionel Messi second game was against Colombia national football team, in which Lionel Messi caused a penalty that Crespo converted to tie the game at 1-1. Lionel Messi also played part in Argentina's second goal as Lionel Messi was fouled outside the box, which allowed Juan Roman Riquelme to score from a freekick, and increase Argentina's lead to 3-1. The final score of the game was 4-2 in Argentina's favor and guaranteed them a spot in the tournament's quarterfinals.

In the third game, against Paraguay national football team the coach rested Messi having already qualified for the quarter-finals. Lionel Messi came off the bench in place of Esteban Cambiasso in the 64th minute, with 0-0. In the 79th minute Lionel Messi created a goal for Javier Mascherano.

In the quarterfinals, as Argentina faced Peru national football team, Riquelme made a pass to Messi and the latter scored the second goal for Argentina, which advanced to the semifinals after a 4-0 win.

During the Semi Final match against Mexico national football team, Messi scored a fine lob over Oswaldo Sanchez to see Argetnina through to the Final. Argentina went on to lose to Brazil national football team in the Final, and Messi won the Young Player of the Tournament award.

Olympic Games 2008

Messi joined the Argentina squad in the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing. Lionel Messi scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory against Ivory Coast national football team and then scored the first goal and got the assist on the second goal in a 2-1 extra time victory against the Dutch national football team. Lionel Messi gave another strong performance in Argentina's match against rival Brazil, in which Argentina won by a 3-0 victory, advancing to the finals. In the gold medal match, Messi assisted Ángel Di María for the only goal in the 1-0 Argentine victory over Nigerian national football team.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Messi

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