Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional football player who plays forward for Ligue 1 team Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team.
Messi, who is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, a record six European Golden Shoes, and was named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020.
He spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, retiring from the team in 2021 after winning a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga championships, seven Copa del Rey championships, and four UEFA Champions Leagues. He won both the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2021 Copa América with his nation.
Messi is a talented playmaker and prolific scorer. He holds the La Liga records for most goals (474), hat-tricks (36) and assists (17) in addition to the Copa América and UEFA Champions League.
He also has the greatest number of (98) international goals. Messi has the most goals by a player for a single club (672) and has over 795 senior career goals for club and country.
Messi, who was born and raised in central Argentina, moved to Spain at the age of 13 to join Barcelona, for whom he made his professional debut at the age of 17 in October 2004.
Within the following three years, he established himself as a key member of the team, and in his first season in 2008–09, Messi won his first Ballon d’Or at the age of 22 while helping Barcelona win the first treble in Spanish football.
Messi became the first player to win the award four times after three successful seasons and four Ballons d’Or in a row.
He established himself as Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer during the 2011–12 campaign, breaking both La Liga and European records for the number of goals scored in a single season.
Messi, who was viewed as Ronaldo’s career rival, came in second place for the Ballon d’Or the next two seasons before regaining his best form in the 2014–15 season, when he became the La Liga’s all-time leading scorer and helped Barcelona win an unprecedented second treble.
Messi was then given a fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015 for his efforts. In 2018, Messi was named Barcelona’s captain. In 2019, he set a record by winning his sixth Ballon d’Or.
In August 2021, he signed a free agent contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi, an Argentine international, is the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer and holds the record for most national appearances.
He won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, finishing the competition with the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, and winning an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
His diminutive, left-footed dribbling style of play drew comparisons to that of his countryman Diego Maradona, who referred to Messi as his successor.
After making his senior debut in August 2005, Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup in 2006.
He then advanced to the final of the 2007 Copa América and was named young player of the competition.
Since August 2011, when he took over as captain of the team, he has guided Argentina to three consecutive finals: the 2015 and 2016 Copa Américas, where he won the Golden Ball in 2015, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball.
After declaring his retirement from international competition in 2016, he changed his mind and guided his nation to qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, third place at the 2019 Copa América, and victory in the 2021 Copa América, while taking home the Golden Ball and Golden Boot for the latter event.
A record-setting seventh Ballon d’Or would be awarded to him in 2021 for this accomplishment.
He broke the record for the most World Cup appearances with 26 games played in 2022 while leading his nation to victory at the FIFA World Cup, for which he received the Golden Ball a record-tying second time.