Lionel Messi factfile

A closer look at the Barcelona forward

Last night Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or for a fourth straight year - here, we take a closer look at the Barcelona forward...

1987: June 24 - Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina.

1995: Joins Newell's Old Boys.

1998: Diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at age of 11.

2000: Moves to Barcelona, aged 13.

2003: November 16 - Makes first-team debut in friendly at Porto at the age of 16.

2004: October 16 - Appears in first official Barca match, aged 17, in 1-0 derby win at Espanyol.

2005: May 1 - Becomes youngest player to score for Barcelona by netting against Albacete.

June - Helps Argentina to World Youth Championship triumph in Holland. Messi is competition's top scorer and is named player of the tournament.

August 17 - Makes full Argentina debut as second-half substitute in Hungary, only to be shown a red card within two minutes.

2006: May - Helps Barca retain Primera Division title and win Champions League, although he misses out on Champions League final win over Arsenal in Paris due to injury.

June 16 - Becomes youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup with substitute appearance against Serbia & Montenegro. Also nets final goal in 6-0 win to become fifth youngest goalscorer in World Cup history.

2007: July - Named Young Player of the Tournament after helping Argentina to Copa America final, where they lose to Brazil.

December 2 - Finishes third behind Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo in Ballon d'Or voting.

December 13 - Again misses out to Kaka, this time finishing second to the Brazilian in FIFA World Player of the Year poll.

2008: July 3 - Included in Argentina squad for Olympic Games in Beijing, prompting protracted dispute between the Argentinian federation and Barcelona, who want the player available for Champions League qualifiers.

August 7 - Barca announce they will allow Messi to remain with Argentina squad for the duration of the Olympics.

August 23 - Helps Argentina to gold with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in the final in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium.

2009: May 27 - Scores second goal as Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 to win Champions League final in Rome. Also helps Barca win the Primera Division and Copa del Rey titles in an unprecedented treble.

December 1: Wins Ballon d'Or.

2010: May - Equals Ronaldo's club record of 34 goals in a league season as Barca win the Primera Division title again.

June - Plays every game as Argentina reach quarter-finals of the World Cup before being knocked out by Germany.

November 20 - His second hat-trick of the season in Barca's 8-0 win over Almeria takes him to 100 goals in La Liga.

2011: January 10 - Wins FIFA Ballon d'Or.

May: Finishes the season with 50 goals in league, Copa del Rey and Champions League action.

August - Named Argentina captain by new coach Alejandro Sabella.

December - Part of the Barcelona squad which wins the Club World Cup in Japan.

2012: January 9 - Retains FIFA Ballon d'Or prize.

March 7 - Becomes first man to score five times in a Champions League game as Barca crush Bayer Leverkusen 7-1.

March 20 - Becomes Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer after scoring twice in the Primera Division match with Granada. Messi's second goal in the match saw him move on to 233 official goals, one more than the previous record set by Cesar Rodriguez during the 1940s and 50s.

May 25 - Scores Barca's second in a 3-0 Copa del Rey final win over Athletic Bilbao in Madrid.

December 9 - Breaks Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year with his 85th and 86th strikes of a remarkable 2012 in Barcelona's win at Real Betis.

December 22 - Scores in Barca's 3-1 win over Real Valladolid to finish the year with 91 goals.

2013: January 6 - Scores in Barca's opening match of 2013, a 4-0 win over Espanyol.

January 7 - Wins Ballon d'Or for the fourth time.

News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'