Argentinian football superstar Lionel Messi conveyed to the Barcelona board that he no longer wish to play for the Catalan giants. The news came after the humiliating 8-2 defeat to German club Bayern Munich. The club has also received a burofax from Messi's lawyers declaring that the player, who has spent his entire career at FC Barcelona (Barca), wished to leave.
Putting aside the shock of his exit, here are some interesting facts about the football player.
Born on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini bears Italian roots and is catholic by religion. He shares his birthplace and birth month with Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevera. His father Jorge Messi who worked as a steelworker also coached the local youth football team Grandoli. At age five, Messi began playing football where he was coached by his father.
But his dream of being a professional footballer ended when at the age of 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which was hindered his normal growth rate. His parents could not afford his treatment, which was $1000 a month. But today standing at 5'7 feet he is still a nightmare for defenders.
In September 2000, the first team director Charly Rexach of Barcelona wanted to sign him but was hesitated as it was unusual for European clubs to sign foreign players at such a young age. Impressed with his skill, this led Messi to sign his first contract on a paper napkin.
Messi was part of the “Baby Dream Team,” which was Barcelona’s greatest-ever youth side.
At the age of 17, he made his official debut with Barca after which there was no looking back.
Here's an interesting fact, Messi holds dual citizenship in Spain and Argentina. He was granted Spanish citizenship in 2005 after which there was news that he would now play for Spain in the World Cup. But he stuck to his home country and played for Argentina in the World Cup.
Here are some achievements:
At the age of 22, Messi got his first FIFA World Player of the Year award and made a hattrick by winning the award for the next 3 years.
He also won an Olympic gold medal, along with the Argentinian football team, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
At the age of 25, Messi scored 200 goals in Spanish football league La Liga making him the youngest player.
He is the first football player in the world to win three European Golden Shoe Awards.
Lionel Messi became his country’s all-time top scorer when he scored in the Copa America 2016 semi-final against the United States, taking his international tally to 55 goals.
Messi scored 91 goals in 2012. Which is a world record for most goals in a year.
Due to his amazing speed, fans also call him 'The Flea'.
He has also termed as the GOAT an acronym for Greatest Of All Time for all his achievements.
Apart from playing football, Messi also founded the Leo Messi Foundation, which supports access to health care, education, and sports for children.
He has contributed to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an organisation with which Barcelona also has a strong association. Messi also previously served as a goodwill ambassador with UNICEF.
In 2013, Messi donated a sum of 600,000 euros towards the restoration of a children's hospital in his home town named Victor J Vilela Children's Hospital. The funds went toward restoring the oncology unit of the hospital and payment for doctors' travel to Barcelona for training.