The Barcelona star celebrates his 30th birthday on Saturday at home in Argentina. There have been infinite incredible moments throughout his career, here are 30…
Lionel Messi’s career with the elite began in 2003 when Frank Rijkaard gave him the second half of a friendly match between Porto and Barcelona.
Since then, during nearly 14 years, the star from Rosario has been the best player on Planet Football, breaking records, winning titles and scoring goals for the history books, mainly dressed in a Blaugrana shirt, but also for Argentina.
Coinciding with his 30th birthday — June 24, 2017 — here are 30 decisive moments from the career of the Barça nd Argentina No.10.
- 30-03-1994 Messi signs for Newell’s Old Boys at youth level. According to the Rosario Football Association, up until 1999, Leo scored 234 goals in 176 games, an average of 1.33 goals per game.
- 08-05-1998 Celia Olivera de Cuccittini, Leo’s grandman, passed away. She encouraged Leo to play football and every celebration is still dedicated to her.
- 17-09-2000 Leo lands in Barcelona with his father for a trial. Carles Rexach advises he’s signed immediately, but the Messis return to Argentina and must wait for an answer.
- 14-12-2000 Carles Rexach, meeting with Josep Maria Minguella in the restaurant at the Reial Club de Tennis Pompeia in Barcelona, famously signs the first contract agreeing to sign Messi on a napkin.
- 16-11-2003 Make his debut in a friendly against Porto aged 16 years and 145 days. Frank Rijkaard’s Barça lost 2-0 against Jose Mourinho’s Porto at the Estadio do Dragao. With No.14 on his back, Messi came on for Fernando Navarroin the 75th minute.
- 16-10-2004 Official Barça debut (17 years and 114 days). It comes in a derby against Espanyol. He came on for Deco in the second half.
- 01-05-2005 Scores his first goal against Albacete.
- 02-07-2005 Argentina win the U20 World Cup after beating Nigeria 2-1 in the final. Leo Messi scored the two goals and was named top scorer and best player at the tournament.
- 17-08-2005 Makes Argentina debut in a 2-1 win against Hungary. Sent off two minutes afyer coming on.
- 18-04-2007 Scores twice against Getafe in the Copa del Rey semifinal. One of the goals quickly spreads around the world due to its similarity to the one scored by Diego Maradona against England at the World Cup in 1986. He ran the same distance (62m) and beat the same number of players (six, including the goalkeeper). On June 9, against Espanyol, he scores another similar goal to one Maradona scored against England that day: with his hand.
- 23-08-2008 Argentina win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics after beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final (Di Maria scored the goal, assisted by Messi).
- 02-05-2009 Messi scores two of the six goals in the historic 6-2 win at the Bernabeu.
- 27-05-2009 Messi scores the second goal at Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 to win the Champions League — that season they won the treble.
- 01-12-2009 Messi wins his first Ballon d’Or, with Cristiano Ronaldo second and Xavi Hernández third.
- 19-12-2009 Barça win the Club World Cup, beating Estudiantes in the final (1-2). Leo Messi scored the decisive goal in extra time. Barça became the first club to win six trophies in a calendar year.
- 06-04-2010 Scores four times in a 4-1 win vs. Arsenal in the Champions League. Ends that season with the Pichichi and the European Golden Shoe.
- 28-05-2011 Barça beat Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley 3-1. Messi scored one of the goals. Barça close the season with the double after winning La Liga, too.
- 27-07-2011 Messi is names “Sport Heritage of Humanity” along with Pelé and Hugo Sánchez after more than 327,000 people voted in 72 countries.
- 18-12-2011 Barça beat Santos 4-0 in the Club World Cup final. Messi scores twice as Neymar plays for the Brazilian side. Messi equals Pedro as the only players to score in six competitions in a calendar year.
- 10-01-2012 Wins his third Ballon d’Or ahead of Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández. Barça occupy the whole podium, the first time any club has done so — let alone with three players from the academy.
- 22-11-2015 Messi scores a hat-trick in a 5-1 win against Secilla and reaches 253 Liga goals, moving past the previous record of 251 held by Telmo Zarra since 1955.
- 15-02-2015 In his 300th league game, a 5-0 win over Levante, he gives his 106th assist (La Liga record) and scores a hat-trick to level Zarra as the player with the most hat-tricks for a Spanish club in all competitions (31).
- 06-06-2015 Barça win their fifth Champions League, beating Juventus 3-1 in the final in Berlin. That win completes their second ever treble. Messi is one of the seven players to be part of both. In December, they win another Club World Cup.
- 11-01-2016 Leo Messi wins his fifth Ballon d’Or with 41.33 percent of the votes ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (27.76%) and Neymar (7.86%).
- 14-02-2016 Leo Messi emulates Johan Cruyff in Barça’s win over Celta (6-1) when, instead of shooting, he passes a penalty, with Suarez scoring.
- 17-04-2016 In Barça-Valencia in La Liga, Messi reaches 500 goals as a professional (450 with Barça, 50 with Argentina). He ends the season on 453.
- 22-05-2016 Barça win the Copa del Rey 2015/16 final against Sevilla (2-0). Leo gives the assists for both goals. A week later, Barça win the league, too, by beating Granada.
- 19-06-2016 Messi beats Batistuta’s record with Argentina when he reaches 55 goals after scoring against the USA in the semifinal of the Cop America 20016
- 08-03-2017 Barça comeback from 4-0 down against PSG, winning 6-1 at Camp Nou, with a photo of Messi celebrating in front of the fans which will live on forever.
- 23-04-2017 A goal from Messi with the last kick of the game allows Barça to win the Clasico and keep themselves in the title race. The crack celebrated by holding his shirt in front of the Bernabeu support. Another unforgettable image of the No.10.