Two weeks ago your favorite Dambela brought you top 10 facts about Christiano Ronaldo. This weekend edition we present another world best footballer. For some he is simply the best player in the world and for others he remains one of the greatest players of all time.
Luis Lionel Andres Messi best known as Lionel Messi is one of the best plaers to grace the football game. The Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards. Widely considered to be the best dribbler in the world.
Having spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, he has won for the club a record of 33 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues. A prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (467), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (191), a La Liga and European league season (21) and the Copa América (12).
He has scored over 750 senior career goals for his club and country, and has the most goals ever by a player for a single club.
The Argentine international is his country’s all-time leading goalscorer. At the youth level, he won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, were he finished the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe,.
Here are top 10 facts about this world best footballer.
1. SUFFERED GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY AS A CHILD
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, which Barcelona paid for after signing him.
2. MESSI FOOTBALL ICON
Ever wondered who inspired Messi s a child in the world of football. Messi’s goalscoring idol while growing up was Ronaldo. Messi called him “the best forward I’ve ever seen.
3. MARADONA’S SUCCESSOR
Throughout his career, Messi has been compared with his late compatriot Diego Maradona, Diego Maradona, once described Messi as his successor in February 2006. “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi.”
Messi proved their similarity when he nearly replicated Maradona’s two most famous goals in the span of seven weeks.
During a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe on 18 April, he scored a goal remarkably similar to Maradona’s second goal in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, known as the Goal of the Century.
4. HIGHEST PAID PLAYER
According to France Football, he was the world’s highest-paid footballer for five years out of six between 2009 and 2014, and was ranked the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2019.
Messi was among Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011 and 2012. Since 2008, he has been Barcelona’s highest-paid player. In 2020, Messi became the second footballer (and second team-sport athlete) to surpass $1 billion in career earnings.
As of 2019, He remains the world’s highest-paid athlete in the world accounting for salary plus bonuses and endorsements, according to Forbes, bypassing fellow soccer great Ronaldo and basketball star LeBron James.
5.TAX FRAUD SCANDAL
In July 2016, Messi suffered a big negative attention off the soccer field when a Barcelona court found him and his father guilty of three counts of tax fraud. During a four-day trial, Messi and his father denied breaking the law and claimed they were unaware of any tax illegalities that were committed.
However, they were both sentenced to 21 months in prison. Under Spanish law, first offenses under two years are suspended so they did not go to jail, but Messi was ordered to pay a fine of 2 million euros. His father was required to pay 1.5 million euros
6. MESSI–RONALDO RIVALRY
There have been several debates over comparisons between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Among his contemporary peers, Messi is most often compared and contrasted with Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, as part of an ongoing rivalry that has been compared to past sports rivalries like the Muhammad Ali–Joe Frazier rivalry in boxing and the Björn Borg–John McEnroe rivalry in tennis.
Since 2008, Messi has won six Ballons d’Or to Ronaldo’s five, six FIFA World’s Best Player awards to Ronaldo’s five, and six European Golden Shoes to Ronaldo’s four.From 2009–10 to 2017–18, Messi faced Ronaldo at least twice every season in El Clásico. Off the pitch, Ronaldo is his direct competitor in terms of salary, sponsorships, and social media fan base.
Their rivalry also extend to social media platforms. Messi’s Facebook page had nearly seven million followers, and by August 2020 he had over 101 million followers, the second highest for a sportsperson after Cristiano Ronaldo. He has over 175 million Instagram followers, the second sportsperson with the highest followers after Cristiano Ronaldo.
7. UNICEF AMBASSADOR / PHILATROPHY
Throughout his career, Messi has been involved in charitable efforts aimed at vulnerable children, a commitment that stems in part from the medical difficulties he faced in his own childhood.
Messi is the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. He has served as UNICEF goodwill ambassador since his appointment in March 2010.
He has since then contributed his time and finances to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In February 2021, Messi donated his Adidas shoes to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya which he had worn when he scored his 644th goal for Barcelona breaking Pelé’s record for most goals scored for a single club. The shoes were later auctioned off in April by the museum for charity to help children with cancer.
8. ALL TIME TOP SCORER FOR ARGENTINA
Lionel Messi became his country’s all-time top scorer when he scored in the Copa America 2016 semi-final against the United States bringing his international tally to 55 goals.
Messi became the third Argentine after Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta to score in three different World Cups; he also became the first player to score in the World Cup in his teens, twenties, and his thirties.
Despite all his success with Barcelona, Messi has been criticized for his inability to help Argentina’s national team win a major soccer title. Argentinas have log expected to win the worldcup title, similar to what Maradona achieved in 1986.
This has led many of his country men to accuse him of caring less about his country than his childhood club.
9. BARCELONA’S ALL-TIME TOP SCORER
At the age of 24 Messi became the all-time leading scorer for Barcelona in all club competitions when he embarked on an all-out assault on the unbroken record books in 2012. He also became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match. On 23 December, Messi scored his 644th goal for Barcelona against Real Valladolid in La Liga, surpassing Pelé with Santosas the player with the most goals scored for a single club.
Lionel Messi also currently holds the record for most goals and assists in El Clasico (Real Madrid vs Barcelona) history.
10. FAMILY RELATIONSHIP
Messi has a close relationship with his immediate family members, He has tattooed on his left shoulder his mother Celia. His father, Jorge, has been his agent since he was 14, and his oldest brother, Rodrigo, handles his daily schedule and publicity. While his mother and other brother, Matías, manages his charitable organisation, the Leo Messi Foundation
On June 30, 2017, Messi married his longtime girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo. They both have three children together.
Messi’s superiority, ahead of Maradona and Pelé, had become the apparent view among many fans and pundits in continental Europe. A frequent dismissal, however, has centred on the fact that Messi has not won the FIFA World Cup or any other major trophy with Argentina.
History will tell if he becomes the world greatest footballer ahead of Pele at the end of his career.