The impact of superstar’s move to PSG on both clubs, and on him
Aug 5, 2022
As United States international Brenden Aaronson struck a surprise winner for FC Salzburg in a friendly against Barcelona in Austria on Aug. 4, 2021, Barca president Joan Laporta’s activity on his phone alerted the other members of the club’s travelling delegation to an issue. Less than 24 hours later, the nature of Laporta’s frenzied calls became clear as the Catalan club made the announcement that rocked football: Lionel Messi was leaving.
Messi, 34 at the time, spent 20 years at Barcelona after arriving from Argentina as a teenager. During that time, he became the club’s record appearance holder and top scorer, scoring 672 times in 778 games. He won four Champions League and 11 LaLiga titles, and was named the best player in the world on six occasions (and for a seventh time since leaving.) Barca without Messi was unthinkable; Messi playing in another club’s shirt was unimaginable.
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who was collecting family from the airport, didn’t believe the news when he heard it. Striker Sergio Aguero, who had only just signed for Barca, partly on the premise of playing with his long-time friend Messi, was with Spanish Twitch streamer Ibai Llanos when the news broke, and like De Jong, he refused to believe it too. He even thought Barca’s website had been hacked. Still in denial, Aguero then believed it must be a tactic to convince LaLiga to let Barca register Messi given his importance to Spanish football.
As it turned out, it was neither of those things. Barca, in €1.35 billion of debt following years of overspending and the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, simply could not afford to give Messi a new contract and had to let him go to French side Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
In the year since, the move has made a big mark on his former club in Spain and his new club in France, while Messi’s future after the 2022-23 season looks cloudier than ever, too. His contract with PSG expires on June 30, 2023, though there is an option to extend it for another season. But before we get there, ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Julien Laurens explain how we got here.
Reporting and information from Moises Llorens and Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal was used in this story.
Lionel Messi’s departure one year ago is still reverberating around the club that made him, Barcelona, and there’s still some distant hope he can one day return. For now, though, the chapter remains closed. Eric Alonso/Getty Images
How it happened
“The warning signs were there in Salzburg,” one club executive told ESPN. “That was when it became clear things were complicated.
“As the hours passed, everything went pear-shaped until the point that the vice-president, Rafa Yuste, and Laporta had a series of calls with Jorge, Messi’s dad and agent. Those conversations were intense — the tone of them didn’t go down well with anyone. When the expedition returned to Barcelona from Salzburg, it was all over. At around 6 p.m. through a statement from the club on Aug. 5, the chapter closed on the greatest player in Barca’s history.”
Messi’s sudden departure was all the more remarkable given he’d already agreed to terms on a new contract with a 50% pay cut to help Barca economically, given that his previous deal had actually expired on June 30. On Aug. 5, Jorge was flying into Barcelona from Argentina to finalise the deal.
“Jorge had a meeting early in the afternoon with Laporta and a notary from Barcelona to go over the two-year contract and sign the documents,” a source involved in the negotiations explained to ESPN. “Talks had been long, but with the election of Laporta in March, everything seemed fine. But when Jorge landed, he received a call from Laporta: ‘Jorge, don’t go to the notary, the club’s situation is not the best and we’re not going to be able to sign the agreement, I am so sorry.’ Then Jorge phoned his son to relay the news to him.”
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Even a year on, there are discrepancies over exactly when Laporta knew Messi could not renew with the club. Everyone consulted by ESPN concurred that Messi and his teammates were stunned by the development, but there are different timelines from different sources relating to Laporta.
The official version is that he did everything he could up until the last minute, but that the only way out would have been to accept LaLiga’s CVC deal, which would have handed over 10% of Barca’s domestic television rights. Laporta was always unwilling to sign that deal. Other sources, though, suggest Laporta and those closest to him had realised much earlier that it would be difficult from a financial perspective to renew Messi’s contract.
The irony of Messi’s departure was that he wanted to stay, unlike in the summer of 2020 when, under ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu, he had asked to leave via the infamous Burofax. He even held talks with Pep Guardiola about a move to Manchester City.
A year later, on Aug. 8, three days after Barca’s statement, Messi cried his eyes out as he said goodbye to the club in a news conference, with De Jong and Aguero alongside other ex-teammates in the audience. On Aug. 10, he signed for PSG.
“Messi was certain he was staying,” a dressing room source told ESPN. “He had spoken with people about getting back to work after signing the contract. That never happened. The president didn’t live up to his word. He promised Messi would be able to sign, but it fell through. The summer before, with the Burofax [transfer request], Messi was convinced he wanted to leave. His mind was made up. He stayed when he wanted to go and he left when he wanted to stay.”
— Sam Marsden
Laurens: Things will get better for Messi at PSG next season
Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens give their take on Lionel Messi after the forward has endured a difficult first season in Paris.
Why Messi left Barcelona
Messi wanted to leave in 2020 because of what he branded “lies” from Bartomeu and the failure to build a team around him that was capable of winning trophies. Barca had just lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in 2020, but Messi left the following year because of the debts which were run up by the same board that had refused his request to depart.
That was the situation Laporta inherited. Barca had been overspending even prior to Neymar’s world-record €222 million exit to PSG in 2017. When the pandemic arrived and revenue dropped, spending — including Messi’s €550m four-year deal — quickly became untenable. The club’s financial plight, plus Messi’s push to leave and a trophy-less campaign, led to a fan movement that saw Bartomeu voted out as club president at the end of 2020.
Enter Laporta, whose charisma and showmanship did not extend to a quick fix for the club’s cash crisis. Barca needed a hefty loan from Goldman Sachs just to meet payroll requirements last summer, posting losses of €487m in 2020-21. As recently as June, Laporta described the club as “clinically dead,” although he predicted they would make it into, and subsequently out of, the intensive care unit soon. He has since signed Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde for over €150m in the current transfer window after selling a 25% stake in the club’s domestic television rights and another 25% of the in-house production company, Barca Studios, for around €700m in total.
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Sources said that, last summer, there was simply not enough time to carry out operations of such magnitude in order to keep Messi. Activating the “economic levers” this summer — selling a percentage of the television rights and Barca Studios — not only needed to be negotiated, but it also needed approval from the club’s members. That consent came in June of this year.
Other sources explained that Laporta didn’t expect LaLiga’s financial regulations to be so strict. Messi did not leave because Barca were in debt, per se, but because those debts contributed to a reduced spending cap. Their LaLiga wage limit was cut from almost €600m to under €100m at the start of last season, which meant they were only permitted to spend 25% of what they saved. Even with a 50% wage cut, Messi’s contract could not be registered with the league.
There was, however, one out. LaLiga would have given Barca salary space if they had accepted an agreement with CVC, which would have seen Barca given over €200m in exchange for 10% of their television rights for 50 years. Laporta said it would have been mortgaging the club’s future. Barca, Real Madrid and Athletic Club said no, but the other 17 LaLiga sides signed the deal.
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Sources said that Messi’s devastation was genuine when he left, but others have since questioned why he didn’t do more to stay. He said he did all he could, accepting the club’s proposed wage cut, but could he have gone further? Maybe a little bit, but LaLiga’s algorithm would not have allowed him to play for free.
“The salary can be lowered, but due to the financial control rules, each player has a margin for a reduction depending on different variables, such as age, experience and titles,” a league spokesman told ESPN. “So you can neither play for free, nor with a ‘lower’ wage than what should correspond to said player in a normal market. This is essentially to avoid fraud and ensure that the salary is paid via the correct tax routes and not with ‘intangible’ money.”
— Sam Marsden
Laporta and Messi had a cordial rapport though the club finally gave up hope of retaining their most legendary player on Aug. 5, 2021. Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
The impact on Barcelona
Messi was a shy, floppy-haired teenager when he broke into the Barcelona side, but he soon grew into the leader of the dressing room. He was not always the most vocal, but players felt his presence, and there was an aura around him that only the best athletes have.
“It was a huge blow for everyone,” a source on the coaching staff told ESPN of those first few days following Messi’s departure. “The first session without him was like a funeral. It was like the day after it was revealed Guardiola was not going to stay on as coach [in 2012]. There was silence, no joking around. People didn’t believe what was happening.”
However, some sources have also spoken of how training was often set to Messi’s rhythm. Without him, it was a little bit like starting afresh.
“Things improved as the days passed, and the feeling was that the atmosphere of recent years relaxed a bit,” the coach continued. “You started to see players that hardly spoke when Messi was present start to step forward, and the team became a group. Training sessions with and without Messi varied. The team let go, and the coaches understood that they could do different things and tighten up in some aspects.
“Messi had been the thermometer for everything. If he was happy, everything flowed. If he was sad, few dared to say anything. Not out of fear or anything like that, but out of respect for someone considered the team’s leader.”
There were shades of that vibe in Gerard Pique’s “we are going to have a lot of fun this year” comment after an opening day win against Real Sociedad last season. That remark did not age well, however, and after 10 games Barca sacked coach Ronald Koeman with the side ninth in the table.
Xavi took over as manager and has steered Barcelona back onto a positive path, but it’s still a work in progress since Messi left. Getty Images
Former club legend (and Messi’s old teammate) Xavi soon arrived to take charge and, after a tough period of acclimatisation, he led Barca to a second-place finish in the league. However, the season ended without silverware and none of the attackers in the squad — the likes of Ferran Torres, Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all arrived in 2021 — came close to filling Messi’s boots, let alone match his numbers. The positives came in the form of young midfielders Pedri and Gavi, but overall, Barca were a shadow of the side Messi had helmed to so much success.
In the stands, the rot was visible in the growing number of empty seats. The 2021-22 season ended with an average Camp Nou attendance of 53,982 (the stadium’s official capacity is close to 100,000) in LaLiga, although there were other contributing factors, like the restricted crowds for the first few matches due to COVID-19. Even still, that was down over 20,000 from 2018-19, the last full season before the pandemic. Those that did attend games quickly moved on from Messi, channelling all their support into backing Xavi once he replaced Koeman.
“In the games immediately after his departure, Messi’s name was sung in the 10th minute [his shirt number] at Camp Nou, but that soon stopped,” another dressing room source said. “It was strange given that Messi’s the best player in the club’s history. People can’t have forgotten him so quickly. “
Off the pitch, Barca told ESPN it is “hard to gauge” the impact of Messi’s move to PSG until the official accounts for last season are released later this year, though there are clues. Barca’s new sponsorship deal with Spotify — which includes naming rights to the stadium, men’s and women’s kits, and training shirts — is worth roughly the same as the previous deal agreed with Rakuten in 2017 when Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all at the club. That Rakuten deal, though, was only for the men’s shirt.
Vice-president Eduard Romeu disputed that Messi’s departure would have a major effect on sponsorship revenue, but he did reveal some of the club’s partners were left unhappy by his exit. Romeu did not name who, but sources told ESPN the grievance came from one of the club’s key sponsors. Brands in ongoing partnerships with Barca had relied on being able to use Messi’s image to sell their products around the world.
Romeu also conceded Barca must do a better job of marketing other players post-Messi. He said that 50% of all shirts sales previously were sold with names on the back. Of that 50%, roughly 80% carried Messi’s name.
That marketing explains, in part, the club’s fiscal gymnastics this summer. Sources said they are not only relying on former Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (238 goals in eight Bundesliga seasons) to replace Messi’s goals, they also need the Poland international striker to help sell shirts and add appeal for potential future sponsorship deals. Playmaker Raphinha and defender Kounde are more strategic signings, but Barca believe both players are also valuable in a marketing sense long-term. Immediate success on the pitch would speed up that process.
— Sam Marsden
‘Let’s be serious!’ Juls questions why Laporta teased Messi return
Gab and Juls discuss why Joan Laporta said that Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta could return to the Barcelona.
The impact on Paris Saint-Germain
“We know the club has moved to the next level, but we can’t really quantify the impact Messi is having on the club. It will be a few more years until we will really understand how massive this is.”
This is how a source at PSG summarises the Messi era in Paris so far. It’s true that you only really notice the difference when these superstars leave. That said, the difference was obvious from the first day Messi arrived in the French capital. It felt like a city-wide party and, regardless of how it ends, it will remain the biggest transfer in French football history. Not only did it shake up the league, but it changed everything.
The first significant consequence is financial. As PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi, former sporting director Leonardo and general manager Jean-Claude Blanc were finalising the signing, big brands from around the world were already calling the club’s marketing department to work with the Ligue 1 side and associate their brands with Messi’s new team. By January 2022 — only five months after Messi’s arrival — PSG had more new sponsors (eight) than Messi had scored goals (six). Dior were among the new signups, revelling in having Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar as ambassadors. Nike and Coca-Cola also extended their partnerships with PSG, committing more money.
Messi alone has increased PSG’s revenue by between 15%-20% during his first season, according to sources inside the club. PSG moved quickly to plan a preseason trip to Japan this summer, worth €10m to them, as their fans in Tokyo and Osaka mostly wanted to see Messi. In terms of shirt sales, not that it generates that much money for clubs in general, PSG beat all their previous records by surpassing over one million sales, with Messi responsible for around 40%. And finally, on social media, Messi’s arrival proved even more remarkable, with the club amassing an extra 15 million followers across all platforms in the aftermath.
On the pitch, the difference was not so evident, though. Messi struggled to adapt to his new life, new city, new culture and all the changes that came with it. His three sons were not happy at first and his wife, Antonella, missed Barcelona. Even Hulk, the family’s French mastiff dog, was sad. There was so much to absorb, from Paris’ crazy traffic to finding a new school for the boys, a new house and a new routine.
Then there was the football. Messi didn’t have the best preseason preparations due to his participation in the Copa America — where Messi and Argentina beat Brazil in the final — and because of everything that happened with Barcelona. He was not ready when he arrived, and had to play catch up with his fitness for most of the season. He also contracted COVID-19 in the winter and struggled to shake it off.
PSG fans were overjoyed to welcome Messi to Paris in 2021, though his first season was far from the dominant success many expected. BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images
It was a new dressing room, too. There were familiar faces and friends in the form of Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria, but he was not the boss anymore. Some language barriers proved to be an issue, and he stayed close to Di Maria and Paredes. On top of that, his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino was not great. They didn’t always see eye to eye as both tried to make the best of their situation, with Messi notably unhappy with being substituted before the end of a game against Lyon. The look he gave his manager said it all.
Messi ended the campaign with 11 goals and 15 assists in 34 appearances in all competitions and also hit the woodwork 11 times in Ligue 1 alone, which is more than anyone else in Europe. He had some highs — his goals against Manchester City at the Parc des Princes, his hat trick of assists at Saint-Etienne — but he also had some anonymous games as PSG won Ligue 1, but crashed out of the Champions League in the round of 16 to Real Madrid.
However, there is excitement building ahead of Messi’s second season. Club sources expect him to have a much better year now that he is settled. He looked sharper and fitter already in Sunday’s Trophee des Champions against Nantes, even scoring his first goal of the season with a great finish as PSG ran out 4-0 winners without Mbappe in the lineup.
Sources also told ESPN that Messi gets on with the new coach, Christophe Galtier, who replaced Pochettino this summer, and the player feels like he fits perfectly in the new 3-4-2-1 formation. He is much more integrated in the dressing room: more focused, more relaxed and more motivated. His family is happier in Paris, and he has his eyes on a fifth Champions League trophy — which would be PSG’s first. He wants to be at his best at the 2022 World Cup with Argentina later this year, which will require him to find form and consistency in France.
Oh, and Hulk isn’t sad anymore.
— Julien Laurens
What could happen next summer? Could Messi return to Barca?
Messi has one year left on his contract in Paris (with the option of another year), and there is intrigue as to his next move. And, just when they appeared to have moved on, Barcelona have positioned themselves in the queue to sign him, even though he will be 36 when his PSG deal expires.
Despite the January signings of Torres and Aubameyang, and the summer arrivals of Lewandowski, Raphinha and more, Laporta spent Barca’s recent tour of the United States championing a possible return for Messi.
“I would hope that the Messi chapter isn’t over,” he told ESPN in Las Vegas. “I think it’s our responsibility to try to (…) find a moment to fix that chapter, which is still open and hasn’t closed, so it turns out like it should have, and that it has a more beautiful ending.”
Laporta has always left the door open for Messi, but his suggestion before was always in a non-playing role. This time, he’s hinted it’s possible while he is still playing. Xavi, who played alongside Messi for over a decade, remains in contact with his former teammate and is open to the idea. He says it will be “impossible” this summer, but has refused to rule out signing Messi on a free transfer.
It’s worth noting the Messi camp was surprised by Laporta’s recent remarks. The two did have a good relationship, but it soured on the back of how Messi left. Laporta’s comments in the months after Messi’s exit did not help, either, hinting he could have done more if he really wanted to stay. That drew the wrath of Messi’s father, who reports claim phoned Laporta to tell him to stop speaking about his son. Laporta honoured that for a few months, but now he’s talking about Messi again, albeit with a slightly different tone and one that may leave some supporters more conflicted than they would have expected.
The timing of Laporta’s offensive is unusual in that sense. With Xavi in charge and a stellar squad constructed this summer, plus exciting youngsters emerging in Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati, the page finally seemed to be turning. How would a 36-year-old Messi fit back in?
Sources close to Messi will not engage with that idea for now. They insist that at this stage of his career, he is thinking purely short-term. The World Cup is a big motivator for him right now, as is winning the Champions League with PSG. The time will come to decide on what comes next, with virtually every option on the table from Paris to Barcelona, the U.S and beyond.
— Sam Marsden.
Lionel Messi suffers Achilles injury two weeks before 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Paris Saint-Germain confirm
Lionel Messi suffers Achilles injury two weeks before 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Paris Saint-Germain confirm – Eurosport
Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina star Lionel Messi has suffered an injury to his Achilles, two weeks prior to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 35-year-old will miss PSG’s trip to Lorient but will resume training next week. Argentina have been drawn in Group C with Saudi Arabia, Poland and Mexico. The Word Cup takes place from November 20 to December 18.
PSG boss Galtier rests Messi amid injury concerns, hails in-form Neymar
Lionel Messi will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to Lorient on Sunday due to an inflamed Achilles tendon, just over two weeks prior to the 2022 World Cup.
Messi has been in great form this season, with 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions.
He missed two games in October due to a calf problem, but his Achilles knock should not put him out for a long time.
PSG ready to sell Neymar to Chelsea as players await Pochettino – Paper Round
A DAY AGO
The World Cup in Qatar takes place from November 20 to December 18.
“Leo Messi will remain in treatment for an inflamed Achilles tendon as a precautionary measure,” a PSG statement read.
“He will resume collective training next week.”
There has been lots of talk about Messi recently in what could be his last World Cup and it may be his best chance to win the trophy with Argentina, who are on a 35-game unbeaten streak.
Should Messi return to action for PSG’s Ligue 1 game against Auxerre next Sunday, and if he plays in every game for Argentina up to the final, the World Cup final would be his 1000th career game.
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Argentina are second favourites to lift the World Cup behind Brazil, but ahead of holders France.
Messi and his Argentina side have been drawn in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.
They will begin their campaign against Saudi Arabia on November 22, before taking on Mexico four days later. Lionel Scaloni’s side will conclude their group campaign with a game against Poland on November 30.
They have not won the World Cup since Diego Maradona led them to glory in 1986.
Messi was part of the side that finished runner-up to Germany in 2014.
On the domestic front, it has been an excellent season for Messi – a long way removed from his first campaign for PSG since his move from Barcelona.
He never looked settled in his first year in the French capital, but normal service was resumed in the 2022/23 campaign with Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe forging a fantastic understanding in attack for PSG.
After 13 games in Ligue 1, PSG are unbeaten with 11 wins and two draws – five points clear of Lens.
They are also through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, but Messi’s attention will soon turn from club matters to his World Cup quest with Argentina.
Barcelona on alert as PSG prepare to let Messi leave on free transfer – Paper Round
YESTERDAY AT 05:24
Barcelona to raise €200m to finance Messi move this summer – Paper Round
20/04/2023 AT 05:19
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Lionel Messi – latest news for today – Lenta.
Photo: Alex Caparros / Getty Images The striker achieved his main successes in the composition of the Catalan “Barcelona”, with which he won more than three dozen team titles and set an impressive number of various individual records. In particular, Messi received the Ballon d’Or seven times, the most prestigious individual award in world football.
Early career and health problems
Lionel Messi was born on June 24, 1987 in the Argentine city of Rosario in a poor family. The father of the future football player worked at a steel mill, his mother was a cleaner. Leo has two older brothers, Rodrigo and Matias, and a younger sister, Maria Sol.
At the age of five, Messi started playing football at the local club Grandoli. There, he almost immediately became a leader, scoring several goals in each match, and quickly attracted the attention of the scouts of Rosario’s main club, Newell’s Old Boys. At the age of seven, Messi entered the team’s academy, where he spent six years.
However, Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency in 2000 and required regular injections of an expensive drug to continue his professional career. For the family of a young football player, the price of treatment was unbearable, and Newell’s Old Boys refused to help. Messi’s father tried to find another club in Argentina that could finance the treatment of his talented son, but to no avail.
As a result, football agents Martin Montero and Fabian Soldini contacted the Messi family, who promised to give the boy a trial at Barcelona.
In autumn 2000 Messi and his father came to Spain. At the trial practice, the 13-year-old Argentine played with guys who were two years older, but he managed to make a strong impression on the club’s sports director, Carles Rexac. He convinced the blue garnet leadership that such a player should not be missed.
Barcelona not only agreed to take over the treatment of Lionel Messi, but also helped bring his family to Spain. The relatives of the young athlete were given a loan of 120,000 euros for current expenses, and a professional contract was signed with him, under which he received about 600,000 euros a year.
Lionel Messi. 2005
Photo: Felix Ordonez / Reuters
Messi very quickly became the main player of the youth team, scoring an average of a ball per game, and from the age of 16 he began to be regularly involved in matches for the farm clubs of the Catalans. In November 2003, Lionel played for the first time for the first team in a friendly match, and 11 months later he made his debut for Barcelona in an official game. Messi scored the first goal in his professional career against Albacete in May 2005.
A few years later, the Argentine became a real star. In the 2008/2009 season, Leo scored forty-seven goals in all tournaments for the first time and helped the blue garnets make a treble: win the national championship, the Spanish Cup, and the Champions League.
During his career, Messi was the top scorer of the Spanish championship nine times, won the national championship ten times and lifted the Champions League cup four times. The Argentinean became the main man in Spanish football and fell in love with millions of fans of the game around the world. Messi’s main qualities as a striker are phenomenal dribbling, left-footed shots and field vision.
Moving to Paris
In the late 2010s, Barcelona began to experience financial difficulties, and due to fair play rules, they were forced to gradually reduce the costs of player salaries. In the summer of 2021, the problems became catastrophic, and the team could not keep their main star.
The new club of the Argentine was the French PSG: Leo signed a contract until the summer of 2023 with the option of extending for another season. The adaptation was difficult: despite the large amount of playing time, Messi’s performance fell several times. However, the second season in Paris began much more optimistic for the striker, and he became a full-fledged team leader.
Career in the national team and rivalry with Ronaldo
Messi made his debut in the Argentina national team in 2005, but won the first significant trophy with the team only in 2021 – it was a victory in the America’s Cup. The Argentines have never won the World Cup under Messi, although in 2014 the striker helped the national team reach the final (where it lost to Germany in extra time) and was recognized as the best player in the tournament.
Lionel Messi after Argentina’s victory in the America’s Cup. 2021
Photo: Natacha Pisarenko / Reuters
In 2009, Messi received for the first time the most prestigious individual award in world football, the Ballon d’Or. Until 2021, Lionel was awarded the Golden Ball six more times and became the absolute record holder for the number of these awards.
The Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, known for playing for Spanish Real Madrid and English Manchester United, tried to compete with Messi: he received the Golden Ball five times.
Since 2008, Messi has been in a relationship with Antonella Roccuzzo, a childhood friend from his native Rosario. They officially got married in 2017. The couple has three sons.
Members of Messi’s family take an active part in Messi’s career. The player’s father represents his interests as an agent, one of the brothers works as a PR director, the second brother, together with his mother, manages his charitable foundation.
Messi’s 10 highlights in Barcelona – football.ua
Football.ua recalls the most significant events for the Argentinean in the camp of “blue garnet”.
Barcelona officially announced that they could not sign a new agreement with Lionel Messi – the Argentine will leave the team and continue his career elsewhere.
It would seem that this was not the first time they spoke about it, but still it was not believed until the last. It is very difficult after so much time to imagine Barcelona without Messi, and Messi without Barcelona.
However, there is no way back. Football.ua invites you to remember the ten main moments of the legendary football player in the camp of “blue garnet”.
Lionel Messi’s debut for Barcelona in an official match came against Espanyol, the Catalan derby, in October 2004. Then the Argentine football player appeared on the field eight minutes before the end of the meeting, and the “blue garnet” won with a score of 1:0.
As Messi himself remembered this day over time, his dream came true. From that moment began an amazing career of an outstanding football player.
“I came on as a substitute for Deco in the derby against Espanyol in 2004. I was a little nervous because it was my first time on the pitch. It was a very important moment for me, something I longed for, and maybe I was a little impatient.0081
I already had some self-confidence thanks to working with coach Frank Rijkaard and all the players. I have already trained with the first team. This helped me get up and running faster. It was a special day for me – when my dream finally came true.”
First goal for Barcelona beautiful and not without the magic of Ronaldinho – the Brazilian threw the ball at Lionel with a scoop, and he gracefully threw the goalkeeper. 0003
In the video, you can clearly see the joyful boy, who is very sincerely happy about the goal in the jersey of his favorite team – this will be the main task of the Argentine for many years to come.
“My first goal for Barcelona! I was still at that stage when I was just happy to go to the Camp Nou and play next to such fantastic players. I didn’t think about scoring goals, but I knew that if I had opportunity will come, I won’t be nervous
Everything happened so fast. Ronaldinho threw the ball over the defense and I threw the goalkeeper. It was a great moment, especially when my new teammates ran up to congratulate me.” Then he was not yet such a significant performer for the “blue garnet”, but it was already clear that this was an outstanding talent. 0003
In total, Lionel Messi became the Spanish champion ten times during his time with Barcelona. The last time he succeeded was back in the 2018/19 season, and therefore it is not surprising that Leo lost faith in the Barcelona project.
In addition to championships, Messi won the Copa del Rey seven times, won the Champions League four times, won the Spanish Super Cup eight times, won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup three times.
Goal in debut Champions League final
Messi won his first Champions League victory back in 2006 when his team beat Arsenal in the final. The Argentine football player spent that fight on the bench, and therefore could not exert his influence on the final result.
Lionel Messi was already able to prove himself in the 2008/2009 season, when he was already one of the leaders of the Blue Garnet. In the final of the tournament, the Catalans met with Manchester United and won with a score of 2: 0, and Lionel Messi then scored a goal. It is noteworthy that the Argentine scored a header, which is unusual for him.
“It was hard to imagine that I could score with a header when Rio Ferdinand was standing next to me, but in reality no one covered me, the ball flew to the center, where I was exactly standing.
When the ball flew after the transfer from Xavi, I imagined that I would score it, and, thank God, it happened. This goal was important in every sense: for the team that was able to seize the initiative, and for me personally. It is still one of my favorite heads
After missing the final in 2006 due to injury, it was important for me to play in this match and score in it.
First Ballon d’Or
On 1 December 2009, Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the first time.
It is noteworthy that Lionel Messi became the first Argentine who could receive such an award.In total, during his career, Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball six times, which remains an absolute record.0003
Five goals against Bayer
One of the historic achievements of Lionel Messi was the meeting with Bayer in the 1/8 finals of the Champions League in March 2012. Then the Catalans achieved a victory with a score of 7:1, and the Argentine footballer scored five goals at once.
Before that, no one had achieved such an achievement in the Champions League matches. Shakhtar striker Luis Adriano was able to repeat the feat of Lionel Messi in the match against BATE in the group stage.
“What an incredible evening. I’m not sure I can rank my goals in terms of beauty – honestly, I don’t believe that one shot can be better than another. I was just happy that I scored five goals and that my team achieved such
I didn’t know at the time that I was the first player in history to score five goals in a Champions League match I just felt like we played well as a team I prefer it when a team wins, without them I wouldn’t be able to do anything was able to achieve.”
The court sentenced Messi to 21 months in prison
In mid-2016, a Barcelona court found Leo Messi guilty of tax evasion of more than four million euros and sentenced the player to 21 months in prison.
Subsequently, the Argentine appealed to the Supreme Court of Spain, after which the relevant body issued a final decision. Thus, Messi’s sentence of 21 months in prison in connection with major tax fraud in the period from 2007 to 2009year has been confirmed.
Such an event caused a lot of noise among the football community, but over time everything came to naught. Messi served a suspended sentence and everyone forgot about what happened, but those events directly dealt Lionel a serious image blow and somewhat shook his psychology.
Messi’s 500 goal for Barcelona, which turned the tide of the fight for the championship not lost. Barcelona then needed only victories, and Messi provided it.
Casemiro opened the scoring in the middle of the first half, to which Messi quickly responded. After Rakitic led the Catalans forward, but Hames restored parity at the end of the meeting.
Already in stoppage time, the Argentine received the ball from Jordi Alba and hit the opponent’s goal with an accurate blow.
“A wonderful evening when everything worked out and I achieved everything I wanted. I scored two great goals against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, the second of which was in the last minute and the winner for us. And the fact that this was my 500th goal with Barcelona!0081
I couldn’t ask for more. If I hadn’t scored then, we could have said goodbye to the league title. This goal gave us an incentive to fight further and win the championship. We deserved to win and this was an emotional moment for all Barcelona fans.
When Jordi Alba was in possession of the ball, I knew where I needed to be, as we practiced such situations. We knew the possibilities of everyone very well, and this was not the first time for us. When Jordi was in the last third of the field, I always tried to move back to the penalty line to get the ball and finish – and that’s what we did.”0081
The opposing fans gave Messi a standing ovation
During the Spanish Championship match, Barcelona visited Betis. In that game, Lionel Messi scored three goals, and his third accurate shot went down in football history, not only for Spanish fans.
Of course, this is a very beautiful goal – one of many scored by an Argentine football player. After that goal, the Real Betis fans gave Lionel Messi a standing ovation despite their team losing 1-4.