ionel Messi is one of the most successful football players in the world.
He has won many awards and has been able to achieve so much.
As a player from such a young age, he has had his fair share of thrilling moments. This post looks at some of the most memorable moments from his years as a professional football player starting at his age 17.
Messi's Debut with Barcelona
One of Lionel Messi's first memorable moments happened when he was just 17 years old. November 16, 2003, is the day he debuted for Barcelona.
It was a friendly match with Porto.
The Argentine wore jersey No.14, and he came into the match as a substitute to Fernando Navarro in the 71st minute of the game.
19 years later, Leo has become the best footballer ever and rewritten Barça's history.
Although Barcelona lost the match 2-0, This day is and will be remembered as one of the most important historical landmarks in Barcelona's history that would define its future path. With it, we see the rise of our famous La Pulga, as Messi comes to be known later on.
Why is Messi known as La Pulga?
Messi has a small stature and modest height, yet he moves with blazing speed, which earned him the nickname of 'La Pulga,' the Spanish term for the flea.
The name 'La Pulga' has been attributed to Messi since he was a child, having been diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency at the age of 10.
Barcelona, by providing Messi with the proper treatment at an early age, could cure this growth deficiency.
This is why Messi stuck with Barcelona as long as he could. He felt he owed everything to this club, but we can now say that the debt was paid back many times over. In Barcelona, his record of success places him among the most celebrated players in the club's history.
Messi vs. Japanese Robot Goalkeeper
We have seen Lionel Messi scoring goal after goal effortlessly against the best goalkeepers in the game, but in 2013, we found out how well he plays against the machines.
One Japanese TV show invited Messi to try a penalty shootout against a Robot goalkeeper.
The robot-keeper might look silly, but the speed at which it lunges and saves the ball from entering the post is something to be taken seriously.
Messi's first two shots hit the right and left posts, but he scored against the robot-keeper on his third attempt.
Though this was not an official match for Messi, it was excellent TV, and also Messi proved that he could beat them robots too.
Identical Goal to Maradona's Goal of the Century
The next most memorable moment in Messi's career was when he scored an almost identical goal to the legendary Maradona's 'Goal of the Century,' which was scored against England in 1986.
Messi scored a very similar goal against Getafe in a Copa del Rey semi-final match which Barcelona won 5-2.
This fantastic goal happened when Barcelona was leading 1-0.
After receiving the pass from Xavi in his half side, he managed to dribble it 66 yards to get it to the goal post of Getafe, beating 5 defenders in his historic unbroken run.
With only the goalkeeper defending the post, Messi shot the ball with his right foot, which went right into the post, just like how Maradona did it against the England team.
The similarities in these goals are just uncanny; it's almost identical. They start from the same position on the field, dribble almost following the same path, shoots in the same manner, and even the celebration was similar.
It's as though Messi was enacting the same goal that Maradona did in 1986.
Messi won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009
Ballon d’Or is a prize for the best footballer of the year. It is awarded by France Football following voting by a panel of journalists worldwide.
In 2009, this award was won by Messi, and it was his first Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi won this award by a massive margin. Lionel scored 473 points in total, which was a record at the time.
In contrast, Ronaldo won the 2nd spot and had just 233 points in total.
Though this was the first time Messi won Ballon d’Or, this marked the start of a career of winning many more Ballon d’Or awards.
In fact, as of 2022, Messi has won 6 times more in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.
Need I prove he is the best ever?
Messi's First Red Card of his professional career
As we all know, Messi plays fairly as much as he can. It is rare to see Messi being sent off with a Red Card.
But did you know Messi got a Red Card in his professional football career debut when he played for Argentina for the first time?
The match was against Hungary. Messi was sent in to replace Lisandro Lopez in the 53rd minute of the game.
Messi wore jersey no 18, and Argentina led the goal score by 2-1.
Messi's game ended just after just two minutes when the then 18-year-old was called for a foul against Vilmos Vanczak. The referee gave him a red card, and Messi was sent off.
Messi's first official goal for Barcelona
Messi's first official goal for Barcelona happened in the LaLiga match against Albacete.
He was substituted for Samuel Eto’o in the last half of the game.
The goal was superbly assisted by Ronaldinho when he chipped the ball over the players near Messi, who was running towards the penalty area. The ball was received by Messi just outside the box, and as he dribbles it towards the post, he tosses it over the goalkeeper for an easy goal.
The first goal of many, many, many more!
Messi's 5 goal streak in a match against Leverkusen
Lionel Messi scored five goals against Bayer Leverkusen in a Champions League match on March 7, 2012.
Messi became the first-ever player to score 5 goals in a Champions League match by this feat.
With this goal-scoring streak, Barcelona won the match 7-1 and was able to get a 10-2 margin of victory in the knockout phase of the Champions League 2012, thereby easily making it to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Barcelona, however, was defeated by Chelsea in the quarterfinals. Still, this impressive streak of 5 goals in a match has been etched into history as one of the most memorable moments of Messi's career.