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24/06/24 | 12:17 pm

Lionel Messi turns 37: Staggering records, accomplishments of Argentinean football legend

Legendary Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, often called the ‘greatest footballer of all time,’ celebrates his 37th birthday on Monday. Born in Rosario, Argentina, in 1987, Messi recently won his eighth Ballon d’Or, setting a new record. The next closest player is the Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won five Ballon d’Or awards.

At the age of 13, Messi’s family moved to Barcelona, where the club assisted him in treating his growth hormone deficiency.

The Argentine began his career with FC Barcelona’s U14 squad. He quickly moved up the ranks, impressing everyone with his extraordinary talent and skills. He made his senior club debut at the age of 17 against Espanyol, becoming the youngest player to appear in the competition for the team at the time.

Messi played for the Spanish club for 17 years, during which he won 10 La Liga titles, 4 Champions League crowns, and 7 Copa del Rey medals. He has scored an astounding 474 goals in La Liga, making him the league’s all-time top scorer.

Messi stunned the world when he emulated Diego Maradona’s ‘goal of the century’ in 2007. In a match against Getafe at Camp Nou during the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal, he dribbled past six Getafe defenders to score.

In 2009, Messi won his first UEFA Champions League title. Barcelona defeated Manchester United in the final with a scoreline of 2-0. Messi scored a goal with a header in the match.

In a 3-0 victory for Barcelona over Real Valladolid in 2020, Messi scored his 644th goal, breaking the record for most goals scored for a single club. The previous record of 643 goals was held by Brazilian legend Pele for Santos FC.

The Argentine joined the French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 and played for the club until 2023, scoring 22 goals in 58 games.

In 2023, Messi joined the David Beckham-owned Inter Miami, where he has scored 13 goals in 18 matches so far.

Messi’s first international appearance was in August 2005, replacing an injured player against Hungary. However, his debut was short-lived as he was sent off minutes after coming on for hitting Vilmos Vanczak.

During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Messi’s team, Argentina, won the gold medal. Messi assisted in the game-winning goal in the final against Nigeria, leading to a 1-0 victory.

In the 2021 Copa America final, Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium, giving Messi his first significant international championship.

The highlight of Messi’s career came when he won the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022. In the final, Messi scored twice against France. After a 36-year wait, Argentina became world champions via a penalty shootout.

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