Lionel Messi is 20 years old in Barcelona today. The footballer can be said to be a product of destiny but judging from his background, no one would predict that the world would have such a football magician like the 33-year-old Argentine football icon 20 years ago.
Messi through the influence of his father, Jorge Messi, moved from the streets of Rosario in Argentina to the sporting facility of Newell’s Old Boys and then to Spain to sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world, FC Barcelona.
All these football transitions started in 1994 and became fully formed when he left Argentina for Spain in 2000 to commence a football career that has made him a candidate for the Greatest of All Time tag. The journey has also led him to become the second footballer in the world to become a billionaire.
Before all that, Barcelona allowed Messi to join the club’s youth team at the age of 13 despite not having the ideal body structure for a footballer. In fact, many saw the club’s investment in the player as a waste of time then but the enormous skills of the player made it impossible for the club to have a second thought.
Hence, Messi officially became a member of FC Barcelona on 17 September 2000 but just as a dreamer boy who wanted to enjoy the game of football at the highest level. He continued to play his way up the ladder at Camp Nou until 16 October 2004 when he made his first competitive debut for the club at 17-year-old. The debut came after signing his first professional contract with the club that same year.
Messi had his debut chance during a La Liga match against Espanyol. He was an 82nd-minute substitute in the match when he was 17 years, three months, and 22 days old to become the youngest player to feature for Barcelona then.
In the last 20 years of Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona, the Argentina intentional has become unstoppable as he has played 485 Spanish La Liga matches in which he has scored a record 444 goals and has provided a record 201 assists.
So far, Lionel Messi has played a record 731 competitive matches for Barcelona’s first team in which he scored a record 634 goals and provided a record 285 assists in all competitions.
Achievements and records of Lionel Messi in the last 20 years in Barcelona
- Lionel Messi is the only Barcelona player in history to play for the club 731 times
- He is the only player in Barcelona’s history to score 634 goals and provide 285 assists.
- Messi is the only player in La Liga to play 485 Spanish La Liga matches.
- He is the only player to score 444 La Liga goals and provide 201 assists.
- Messi has won a record 33 trophies for Barcelona, including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League titles.
- Messi is the first and only player to win four consecutive Ballon d’Or.
- Messi is the first and only player to win 6 Ballon d’Or.
- Messi is the only player to win six European Golden Shoes.
- He is the only player in the history of La Liga to score a total of 36 hat tricks.
- Messi is Barcelona’s and Argentina’s national team’s all-time highest goalscorer.