- Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini born 24 June 1987.
- Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13
- Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentine national team.
- Messi has a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards
- His entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won 32 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and six Copas del Rey. Both a prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most official goals scored in La Liga (383), a La Liga season (50), a club football season in Europe (73), a calendar year (91), El Clásico (26), as well as those for most assists in La Liga (149) and the Copa América (11). He has scored over 600 senior career goals for club and country.
- As his father’s health insurance covered only two years of growth hormone treatment, which cost at least $1,000 per month
- As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona in September 2000
- in his first professional contract, signed on 4 February 2004, which lasted until 2012 and contained an initial buyout clause of €30 million.
- A month later, on 6 March, he made his debut for Barcelona B in the Segunda División B, and his buyout clause automatically increased to €80 million
- Physically he was weaker than his opponents, who were often much older and taller, and in training he worked on increasing his muscle mass and overall strength in order to be able to shake off defenders. Towards the end of the season, he returned to both youth teams, helping the Juveniles B win the league. He finished the campaign having scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals in all official competitions
- According to France Football, Messi was the world’s highest-paid footballer for five years out of six between 2009 and 2014; he was the first player to exceed the €40 million benchmark, with earnings of €41 million in 2013, and the €50–€60 million points, with income of €65 million in 2014
- Throughout his career, Messi has been involved in charitable efforts aimed at vulnerable children, a commitment that stems in part from the medical difficulties he faced in his own childhood. Since 2004, he has contributed his time and finances to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- Messi has served as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since his appointment in March 2010.
“That is me and Messi. We’re right up there. Absolutely.”
—US president Barack Obama when given an honorary number 10 jersey at the White House.