Lionel Messi became the first ever player to win the most coveted award in the footballing sphere – The Ballon d’Or for a record fifth time. No player had ever won four Ballons d’Or prior to Messi, let alone five. But at the age of just 28, the Barcelona forward claimed the prestigious prize for the fifth time in Zurich on Monday 11th January, 2016.
|Past Ballon d’Or winners|
|2014: Cristiano Ronaldo||2008: Cristiano Ronaldo|
|2013: Cristiano Ronaldo||2007: Kaka|
|2012: Lionel Messi||2006: Fabio Cannavaro|
|2011: Lionel Messi||2005: Ronaldinho|
|2010: Lionel Messi||2004: Andriy Shevchenko|
|2009: Lionel Messi||2003: Pavel Nedved|
Lionel Messi, in full Lionel Andrés Messi, also called Leo Messi (born June 24, 1987, Rosario, Argentina), Argentine-born football (soccer). Messi started playing football as a boy and in 1995 joined the youth team of Newell’s Old Boys (a Rosario-based top-division football club). Messi’s phenomenal skills garnered the attention of prestigious clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. At age 13, Messi and his family relocated to Barcelona, and he began playing for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team. He scored 21 goals in 14 games for the junior team, and he quickly graduated through the higher-level teams until at age 16 he was given his informal debut with FC Barcelona in a friendly match.
In the 2004–05 season Messi, then 17, became the youngest official player and goal scorer in the Spanish La Liga (the country’s highest division of football). Though only 5 feet 7 inches (1.7 metres) tall and weighing 148 pounds (67 kg), he was strong, well-balanced, and versatile on the field. Naturally left-footed, quick, and precise in control of the ball, Messi was a keen pass distributor and could readily thread his way through packed defenses. In 2005 he was granted Spanish citizenship, an honour greeted with mixed feelings by the fiercely Catalan supporters of Barcelona. The next year Messi and Barcelona won the Champions League (the European club championship) title.
Top Facts You Did Not Know About Lionel Messi
- Although Lionel Messi has Spanish citizenship, he is of Italian origin. His paternal family is from the Italian city of Ancona in the Marche region.
- He shares the same birthplace, Rosario, with the Argentine revolutionary, Che Guevara.
- Despite his fame, he still maintains close connections with the people of Rosario, his hometown. He is also the international ambassador of Rosario.
- Messi has his own version of the Hand of God goal. On 4 October 2006 in a match against Recreativo de Huelva, he scored a goal with his hand.
- ‘SportsPro’ has cited him as one of the world’s most marketable athletes every year since 2010.
- One of the world’s highest-paid footballers, he was the first player to exceed the €40 million benchmark.
- He has his mother’s face tattooed on his left shoulder.
- He is the only player with five FIFA Ballon d’Or awards and three European Golden Shoe awards. Additionally, he won the Golden Ball award twice and the European Golden Boy award once.
- Messi holds the record for the most hat-tricks scored (four in total) in Champions League.
- He is known for his excessive love for food and his favorite dish is escalope Milanese.
- Messi was not very healthy and nutritious in his childhood days like the other boys around. He was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which was stopping his normal growth rate at a tender age of 11. His parents could not afford his treatment, which was $900 a month.
- He was offered a place in the national team by Spain which he did not accept.
- Messi is the sixth youngest soccer player to score a goal in a World Cup games.
- Two of the musical genres that Messi enjoys listening to are Samba and Cumbi.
- Messi was was the first Argentinian ever to be named FIFA World Player of the Year, not Diego Maradona. However, this is due to a technicality because the award was created in 1991, at which point Maradona had begun his downward spiral after he peaked in the 1986 World Cup.
- After scoring a goal, Messi typically celebrates in a calm and composed manner by simply raising both hands in the air. This gesture is to thank and pay tribute to his grandmother who was very close to him and passed away when he was 10. Messi believes she is up there and watching her from above and this is his way of showing that he would always be grateful to her.
- Lionel Messi was born to Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini in Rosario, Santa Fe Province. He has three siblings, two elder brothers Rodrigo and Matias, and a sister, Maria Sol. His father was a factory steel worker and his mother was employed as a part-time cleaner.
The debate over who is the greatest football player ever has continued over the years. Some would say he is better than his contemporary rival – Cristiano Ronaldo. Others will go as far as comparing him with His predecessors – Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Marco van Basten, Zinedine Zidane, and and so on. For decades to come, when personal accolades, trophies and goals would be the benchmark of every football player, Lionel Messi would be regarded as a great player, if not the greatest! For a player to dominate the world by winning 5 ballons d’Or, he deserves to be called a five star player.