6 Little-Known Facts About Barcelona’s Lionel Messi | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
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Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Twitter LogoContributor IApril 30, 2014
6 Little-Known Facts About Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
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Is there anything we don’t know about Lionel Messi?USA TODAY Sports
Lionel Messi has had so much written about him over the years that you wonder if there is anything left to uncover, or some little details that may have been overlooked.
Perhaps there are the odd few facts that are not known to the masses.
Over the next six slides, B/R attempt to uncover something that you might not have previously known, either personally or professionally, about the world’s greatest footballer.
Let’s take a look. ..
His Favorite Food Is Milanesa Napolitana
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There would appear to be one particular food that Lionel Messi has enjoyed throughout his life: Milanesa Napolitana.
A favourite in Argentina, the dish is made with a variety of ingredients such as ham, salt, oregano, fried beef, chopped tomatoes, onions, cheese and sugar.
In Luca Caoili’s book “Messi,” Lionel’s mother Celia describes how she cooks her son’s favourite dish and notes:
Lionel has simple gastronomic tastes: schnitzel, but not made with ham or horsemeat; chicken with a sauce made of pepper, onions, tomatoes and oregano. He doesn’t care much for elaborate dishes.
Could Have Played for Spain
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We could have seen Lionel Messi play alongside Andres Iniesta at national level.David Ramos/Getty Images
Lionel Messi is heading for Brazil this summer looking to spearhead Argentina’s charge to glory in the backyard of their fiercest rivals.
Popular opinion would suggest that if the albiceleste are able to emerge victorious in the tournament that Messi will cement his place in history as the best footballer to have ever played the game.
However, things could’ve been much different.
In Spain since the age of 13, Messi has dual nationality and qualified to play for Spain. Per Biography Online, he was asked to play for the Spanish U20 side in 2004 but turned down the opportunity and instead turned out a year later and led Argentina to victory in the FIFA Youth Championship.
Graham Hunter noted in his book “Barca – The making of the greatest team in the world” via Nicky Salapu of The Guardian:
Just imagine it for a second – Messi up front for this Spain team. He’d have been more appreciated, he’d have won more trophies, he’d have been playing with club-mates and friends and he’d have been far from the first Argentinian to jump ship to La Roja.
It was never an option however, as Messi himself said:
I would have never played for Spain. I’m Argentinian and no one and nothing can change what I feel for the Argentinian colours.
Sent off After 44 Seconds of His Argentina Senior Debut
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August 2005, in the 65th minute of a match against Hungary, an 18-year-old Lionel Messi replaced Lisandro Lopez to make his debut at senior level for the Argentinian national side.
Just 44 seconds later his match was over. Sent off for a flailing arm in the direction of Hungary’s Vilmos Vanczak.
Nicky Salapu of The Guardian notes:
Lionel Messi is sitting in the corner of the Argentina dressing room in the Ferenc Puskas Stadium. His head is in his hands, tears are in his eyes. It is not supposed to end like this.
Video of the incident (above) showed the youngster was only trying to escape the shirt tugging of his opponent and the referee Markus Merk was all too ready to brandish the red card.
Not the way you imagine Messi expected his debut to pan out.
His Real Name Is Luis
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Luis Messi. Doesn’t seem right.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Known all around the world simply as Lionel Messi, the player was actually born into this world on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina as Luis Lionel Andres Messi, per Biography.com.
It’s unclear why the player, or indeed his parents, chose for him to be known as Lionel, so various accounts—including Sam Kelly’s at ESPN—that he was named after American crooner Lionel Richie are therefore incorrect.
His Heritage Is Italian
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Lionel Messi’s lineage on his father’s side is from Italy.David Ramos/Getty Images
Born and raised in Argentina. Now holds dual nationality as a naturalised Spaniard. But Lionel Messi’s family heritage actually belongs in Italy.
Recanati is a town in the Province of Macerata in the east of the country and it is here where the paternal ancestors of Barcelona’s No. 1 son have their origins, according to the town’s Wikipedia page.
Rajath Kumar of Forza Italian Football actually suggests it is Ancona where the Messi family were based, with ancestor Angelo Messi emigrating to Argentina in 1883.
Imagine that. Messi and Andrea Pirlo side by side. Football heaven.
He Is Related to Bojan Krkic
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Lionel Messi’s and Bojan Krkic’s great-grandfathers were brothers.Victor R. Caivano
Believe it or not, Lionel Messi and ex-Barcelona star Bojan Krkic are distant cousins.
Per Stefan Coerts of Goal.com, an investigation by Diari Segre turned up the astonishing information that Ramon Perez Llobera, Messi’s great-grandfather born in 1859, was the brother of Goncal, who was born nine years afterwards and who is Bojan’s great-grandfather.
Coerts goes on to say:
The families of both players share the surname Perez, stemming from ancestors who moved from Teruel to Poal in the 18th century.
Ramo’s granddaughter Rosa Maria Perez Mateu eventually emigrated to Argentina, where she married Eusebio Messi Baro. Their son is the father of the current Barcelona ace.
Lionel Messi’s World Cup win won’t settle GOAT debate
Why World Cup win makes Messi the best player ever (2:27)
Ale Moreno feels Lionel Messi has now eclipsed Diego Maradona after leading Argentina to a thrilling World Cup win vs. France. (2:27)
Dec 20, 2022
Spain legend Andres Iniesta has told ESPN Lionel Messi’s World Cup win will not settle the debate on who is the greatest ever footballer, even if he believes his former teammate holds that title.
Messi, 35, has long been considered among the best of all time, but many felt he needed a World Cup to cement his status alongside the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
Iniesta, who spent over a decade playing alongside Messi at Barcelona, said the forward’s standing in the game will remain the subject of debate despite Argentina’s thrilling win against France on Sunday, with Messi scoring two goals in the 3-3 draw and another in the penalty shootout.
“For me, Messi is the best with or without [winning] a World Cup,” Iniesta told ESPN at the launch of the new Capitten football boots, the brand owned by the Vissel Kobe midfielder.
“I think the fact he has won a World Cup, more than what other people [think], is a huge source of happiness for himself. Not just for him, but for Argentina as a country. They are always in the running and the fact they’ve won it in the way they did makes it totally deserved.
“I am sure anyone who doesn’t view Messi as the best will find an excuse to keep seeing it that way, regardless of whether he won the World Cup or not.”
– Marcotti: Why Messi’s legend didn’t need the World Cup
Messi opened the scoring against France in Qatar but then watched on as two Kylian Mbappe goals took the final into extra time.
The Argentina captain thought he had won it with a second goal in extra time, only for Paris Saint-Germain teammate Mbappe to complete his hat trick to take the game to penalties, where Argentina prevailed.
“I think it was the best ever final, in terms of goals, emotions, everything that happened in the game, the twists,” Iniesta added.
“It was clearly an amazing game for the fans and was worthy of a World Cup final.”
– Olley: Messi’s win cemented Qatar’s sporting legacy
Argentina’s triumph contrasted with a round of 16 exit for Spain, who last won the tournament in 2010 thanks to Iniesta’s winning goal against the Netherlands.
Spain’s defeat to Morocco has reopened the debate on the country’s style of play, with many critical of their possession-based strategy as they were eliminated before the quarterfinals for the third World Cup in a row.
“I think the model has to stay the same,” Iniesta said. “At the end of the day, a model of play is good if you’re able to give 100%. The game against Morocco was not lost because of the model or not, but because other things were lacking to win the game.
“I think the idea has to remain. The only thing is every game is different and you have to try and find solutions on a game-to-game basis. From there, the debate will always exist because there are so many small details that can change games.
“Maybe if [Pablo] Sarabia scores unsteady if hitting the post in the last minute, this isn’t a debate. We were all disappointed to go out but these experiences serve to learn and to improve.”
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The head coach of the Spanish national team, Vicente Del Bosque, said that at one time the Spanish Football Federation tried to invite Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to the team
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Photo: Globallookpress. com
“There was such an attempt, but he decided to play for the country in which he was born. And his decision was unshakable.
So it happened, it is impossible to change anything or pretend that nothing happened.
Nobody knows where the new Messi or the new Ronaldo will come from,” Del Bosque said.
Lionel Messi moved to Spain at the age of 11, and two years later he made his debut for Barcelona in the youth team. He played for the main team of the club for the first time at the age of 16. By this time, he had not yet played for any of the national teams and could choose sports citizenship.
Messi decided to play for the Argentina national team, in which he made his debut for the youth team in 2004, for the main team in 2005. In 2008, Messi played for the Argentina national team at the Beijing Olympics.
With the Argentina national team, Messi won the World Youth Championship (2005), the Olympic Games (2008), became the vice-champion of the world (2014) and reached the semi-finals of the America’s Cup twice (2007 and 2015).
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Messi, Lionel – PERSONA TASS
Born June 24, 1987 in Rosario (province of Santa Fe, Argentina) in the family of Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini. His father worked in the management of a steel company, his mother worked in a shop for the production of magnets.
Lionel Messi started playing football at the age of five in the children’s club “Grandoli” led by Salvador Aparicio. His father worked for some time as the second coach of this team.
Since 1994, Messi began to study at the football school of the professional club Newell’s Old Boys (Rosario), playing as a striker. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, which required expensive treatment.
In 2000, through the mediation of Argentine football agents, Messi was invited to try out at the Spanish club Barcelona. The coaches highly appreciated the talent of the young football player. The club agreed to pay for the treatment on the condition that the boy and his family live in Spain. After moving to Europe from the age of 13, Lionel Messi played in the children’s teams of Barcelona.
On November 16, 2003, at the age of 16, he made his debut for the first team in a friendly match between Barcelona against Portuguese Porto. The first official match as part of the team in the championship of Spain held on October 16, 2004 against Espanyol Barcelona. He scored his first goal in the national championship on May 1, 2005 against Albacete from the city of the same name.
With Barcelona, Lionel Messi won the national championship ten times (2005, 2006, 2009-2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019), won the Spanish Cup seven times (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016-2018, 2021) and the Spanish Super Cup eight times (2005, 2006, 2009-2011, 2013, 2016, 2018). At club international level, he won the UEFA Champions League four times (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015), won the UEFA Super Cup three times (2009, 2011, 2015) and the Club World Cup (2009, 2011, 2015). He is the top scorer in the history of the championship of Spain and the football club “Barcelona”.
On August 5, 2021, it became known that Lionel Messi left Barcelona. The club was unable to conclude a new contract with the player due to the financial rules of the championship of Spain. On August 10, 2021, the player signed a two-year contract with the French football club Paris Saint-Germain. In 2022, he won the national championship with it.
In 2005, Lionel Messi received Spanish citizenship. Shortly before that, the footballer received offers to play for the youth teams of Spain, but he chose the team of his native country and in 2004 made his debut in the youth team of Argentina. In 2005, the Argentines won the World Youth Championship (held in the Netherlands), Messi became the best player and top scorer of the tournament.
Since 2005 he has been a member of the main Argentina national team. He made his debut in its composition on August 17, 2005 in an away friendly match against Hungary, held in Budapest. At the 63rd minute of the match, Messi came on as a substitute, and two minutes later he was sent off for hitting an opponent with an elbow. He scored his first goal for the national team on March 1, 2006 in a friendly game against Croatia, but in the end Argentina lost 3:2.
Playing for the Argentina national team, Lionel Messi won the gold of the 2008 Olympic Games (Beijing), became the world champion (2022, the tournament was held in Qatar) and the silver medalist of the world championship (2014, the tournament was held in Brazil). Six years before winning the World Cup gold, in June 2016, he announced his retirement from the national team. The news triggered a public campaign in Argentina under the slogan “Don’t go, Leo!”. President Mauricio Macri also urged the player not to leave the team. In September 2016, Messi returned to the Argentina national team. Also, together with the national team, the striker won the America’s Cup (2021, the tournament was hosted by Brazil) and Finalissima (a cup match between the winner of the America’s Cup and the reigning European champion; on June 1, 2022 in London, the Argentines defeated the Italians with a score of 3: 0). To date, Messi has played 172 games for the national team and scored 98 balls. He is the champion of the national team in these indicators.
Lionel Messi received the Golden Ball seven times – the award for the best football player in the world at the end of the year (2009-2012, 2015, 2019, 2021). Six times he was awarded the Golden Boot – a prize for the best scorer of the national championships of the countries – members of the Union of European Football Associations (2010, 2012, 2013, 2017-2019). He was recognized as the best player in the 2014 and 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In 2007, the athlete founded the “Leo Messi Charitable Foundation”, which provides assistance to needy children in Argentina and other countries.