With a string of recent performance that has seen Lionel Messi peak into something unassailable, it most definitely won’t be a slight if you referred to him as the greatest soccer player of all time. Week after week, Messi scores a hat-trick of goals to make a tally of goals that is only rivaled by Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has won it all at the club level with multiple Copa Del Rey, La Liga, and Champions League titles under his belt. Still there are some Lionel Messi facts that are totally out of this world and will make you second guessing from believing.
Lionel Messi Facts – Most Interesting
9. Prodigy that Became Legend
At 28 years of age, many would most righteously argue that Messi’s best years are yet to come ahead of him. Ronaldo, who is turned 31 just now, is at the peak of his goal scoring curve, and there is no reason Messi won’t emulate the same thing. But that’s just it, even now Messi has scored so many goals for Barcelona that defy explanation, and he has already left Ronaldo’s tally behind him. In most teams, a 24-year-old footballer is gearing to find his feet in the starting XI. Messi became a legend at that very age when he scored a hat-trick against Granada in 2012 to become the leading goal scorer for Barcelona. He went past Cesar Rodriquez’s 232 goals mark, and something tells me that his final numbers for Barca will be unassailable forever.
8. The Best Player in the World
He just received the Ballon d’Or in the year 2015 and became the best player in the world after he led Barca to a treble with the help of Neymar Jr. and Luis Suarez’s firepower. One of the fascinating Lionel Messi facts is that he wasn’t only the youngest to be nominated for World Player of the Year (Now the Ballon d’Or), but he is also the first ever to win four consecutive awards. After losing out to Ronaldo for two years(2013-2014) after his consecutive four(2009-2012), he grabbed his fifth at 28 years of age.
7. Messi’s Fragile Barca Beginnings
When he barely became a teenager back in 2000, he was spotted by Sporting Director Barcelona, Carles Rexach, after he saw him perform a mini-trial. He was so impressed and feared that rival clubs would be knocking on doors when he signed a contract with Messi’s father and agent Jorge Messi that was drawn up on his paper napkin in his haste. When Messi was 18 and impressing alongside the likes of Ronaldinho and Deco, one of the most shocking Lionel Messi facts is that Barca almost let the then wonder kid leave amid financial troubles. Good thing they didn’t as Barca would go on to win four Champion league titles and advance to four semi-finals in the next decade.
6. He Could Have Played for Spain
While Spain won’t regret much considering they were FIFA 2010 World Cup champions and also at the top of the summit for 5 consecutive years, but they still would have loved if Leo Messi was on their side. Messi holds both Spanish and Argentinian passports considering he moved to Spain for Barca’s Youth Academy in his adolescence. Messi chose Argentina even though many of the national team fans believe that Messi has become more of a Spanish. These concerns were given some bite when Messi was sent off within a minute of his national team debut. Since then he lost the 2014 World Cup to Germany in the final by the skin of his teeth but got a controversial Player of the tournament award.
5. The Left Foot of God
Diego Maradona became the main stream when his ‘Hand of God’ helped Argentina win the world cup. Messi may not have yet won the World Cup on his side, but his left foot is more precious to Argentina and the footballing world than anything else. When he won his fourth Ballon d’Or, Tokyo Jeweler Ginza Tanaka made a 25 kg solid gold cast of Messi’s left foot that is valued at $5.25 million. Its purpose was to raise money for the 2011 Tsunami victims.
4. The Goal Machine
One of the most brilliant Lionel Messi facts is his incredible goal tally that defies description. He is passed the 500 goal mark for club and country. He became the first player ever to score most goals in a Champions League campaign for four years straight. The year 2012 was iconic for him as he became the highest goal scorer in a calendar year with 86 goals; something that Pele and Maradona would be proud of.
3. The Growth Hormone Deficiency
Though every soccer fan worth a dime knows about this fact, most of them don’t know the impact it had on Leo Messi’s life. He was diagnosed with the Growth Hormone Deficiency disorder when an 11-year-old Messi was just 4 and a half feet tall. With his parents unable to pay for his treatments, one of the saddest Lionel Messi facts is that he would have ended up being a little person under five feet tall had he not been noticed by Barcelona. Barca promised to pay for his treatment as a part of signing him in the Youth Squad and the 13-year-old Messi started receiving his treatment that now gives him his acceptable height of 5’6”.
2. Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo; The Day Old Question
This debate can be settled by looking what their individual brilliance has done for the team. Messi has won 4 Champions League compared to Ronaldo’s 2. He has also won 7 domestic leagues compared to Ronaldo’s 4. Since Ronaldo’s arrival in Spain, Messi has won 4 domestic leagues and 2 Champion Leagues while Ronaldo has 1 champions league and 1 domestic title. Come to think of it; Ronaldo won more major trophies with Manchester United during his relatively low goal scoring years than he ever did with Real Madrid despite piling up goals. It means to show that Ronaldo has a bigger knack of scoring but against weaker teams or when the team doesn’t truly need it. If you compare Messi and Ronaldo as national team captains, Messi still edges him because he led Argentina to a World Cup Final while Ronaldo’s biggest achievement is a semi-final in his Manchester United days when he was just a small cog in the Portuguese national team machine.
1. Honors and Achievements
As explained in the previous fact about Messi, he has more honors and achievement than conceived possible for a player even a decade ago. On top of his five Player of the Year awards, one of the most impressive Lionel Messi facts is that he became the first player ever to win three European Golden Shoe awards. Cristiano Ronaldo became the second personality to do that, and he now has 4 European Golden Shoe, one more than Messi. Given the Argentinian is three years younger, he may end up with more than Ronaldo.
Messi is considered one of the greatest of all times. We are lucky to have Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in our generation as without the other’s rivalry; these numbers may not have been this astronomical.