Salem Radio Network News Saturday, October 23, 2021


Factbox-Soccer-Argentina and former Barcelona striker Lionel Messi

(Adds dropped word in final par)

(Reuters) -Factbox on Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who left Barcelona on Thursday after his contract expired at the end of June.

Messi, who joined Barca’s youth set up aged 13, spent his entire professional career at the club and is their all-time top scorer and appearance maker with 672 goals in 778 games in all competitions.

Born: June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina


* Joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old in 2000 and shone in the youth ranks before coach Frank Rijkaard gave him a senior debut at the age of 16 in a friendly against Porto in 2003.

* Made his La Liga debut in October 2004 and scored his first league goal the following May in a match against Albacete at the Nou Camp.

* Scored six goals in 17 appearances in 2005-06 as Barca won La Liga for the second year in a row but did not feature in their 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Champions League final.

* Played a key role as Barca claimed six trophies in the calendar year of 2009 including the Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey and Club World Cup.

* Won the first of four consecutive Ballon d’Or awards.

* Won La Liga again in 2010 and retained the Ballon d’Or award, beating Spanish World Cup winners and Barca team mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

* Inspired Barcelona to a 3-1 win against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final, scoring one goal and creating another.

* Helped Barca to a third consecutive La Liga title in 2010-11 and was on the scoresheet as they beat Santos 4-0 to win the Club World Cup.

* While Barca failed to retain La Liga or the Champions League, Messi overtook Cesar Rodriguez as Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer and finished 2012 with an extraordinary total of 91 goals in all competitions — a record for a calendar year.

* Smashed La Liga’s scoring record for one season in 2011-12 with 50 goals.

* Equalled the Champions League scoring record of 71 goals set by former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 forward Raul when he struck twice against Ajax Amsterdam at the end of 2014. Has since been overtaken by Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

* Turned in a series of scintillating performances in 2014-15 as Barca won a historic second treble, with Messi winning his fifth Ballon d’Or award after becoming the all-time top scorer in La Liga.

* Won the domestic double in 2015-16 and 2017-18.

* Following the departure of Andres Iniesta in May 2018, Messi was named Barcelona’s captain for the following season and led them to the league title, but the club were eliminated at the Champions League semi-final stage by Liverpool.

* Won a record sixth Ballon d’Or in September 2019.

* Attempted to leave Barcelona in August 2020, making a formal request for an exit after a breakdown in his relationship with then president Josep Maria Bartomeu but successor Joan Laporta, who presided over the Argentine’s rise to greatness, convinced him to stay.

* Surpassed Pele’s record at Santos with his 644th goal for Barcelona against Real Valladolid in La Liga in December 2020.

* In his final season at the club, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey but finished third in the league and were knocked out by Paris St Germain in the Champions League last 16 stage.

* Scored a club record 672 goals in 778 games and won 35 trophies at the club, including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in BengaluruEditing by Christian Radnedge)


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