Lionel MessiSoccer Player
Born: 24 June 1987
Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina
Best known as:
Goal-scoring Argentine forward for FC Barcelona
Widely acknowledged as the best footballer of his generation, Lionel Messi has been given the FIFA Ballon d'Or as the world player of the year an unprecedented four times in a row: for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Lionel Messi was already a teen superstar of Argentine soccer by the time he turned 18 in 2005. That year he was named the player of the tournament at under-20 World Cup; played his first game for the Argentine national team (against Hungary on 17 August); and scored his first goal (on 1 May) with the professional team FC Barcelona, where he played alongside another South American sensation, Ronaldinho. He was soon being compared to an earlier Argentine soccer hero, Diego Maradona. Like Maradona, Lionel Messi is an attacking, goal-scoring forward; Barcelona's official site calls him "highly creative." Messi was a member of Argentina's 2006 and 2010 World Cup teams. In 2009 he helped Barcelona win a rare triple: the Copa del Rey, Spain's La Liga championship, and the Champions League. In 2012 he became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match, tallying five against Bayern Leverkusen in a 7-1 win on March 7th.
Lionel Messi is 5'7" tall; his nickname is "The Flea"... Rosario was also the birthplace of Che Guevara... Lionel Messi scored a famous solo goal for FC Barcelona against Getafe CF on 18 April 2007. He took the ball just inside the half line and sprinted past five defenders and the goalie before booting the ball home from a sharp angle. The goal is often compared to Diego Maradona's dashing solo "goal of the century" vs. England in the 1986 World Cup... Lionel Messi won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2009; the award then was renamed the FIFA Ballon d'Or award in 2010, after the award was merged with the historic Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) given yearly by the magazine France Football since 1956. Messi was the first winner of the new combined award... Only one other player has won the Ballon d'Or three times in a row: Michel Plantini of France from 1983-85.
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