It was on this lucky day, 28 years ago, that a legend of football was born in the small town of Rosario, Argentina. His journey from being just another kid on the streets to being the god of the beautiful game is truly unreal. On his birthday, we wish him all the luck, and hope he continues to do what he has been doing for years to come – play mesmerizing football. Leo Messi is, by far, the greatest there ever was!
Here are some interesting facts about the Barcelona forward you might not have known.
1. Messi shares his birthplace – Rosario – with revolutionary Che Guevera.
2. At 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which was stopping his normal growth rate. His parents could not afford his treatment, which was USD 900 a month.
3. At 17, he became the youngest player in history to score a goal for Barcelona.
4. Barcelona sporting director Carles Rexach was so impressed with Messi’s skills with the ball, that he offered to pay his medical bills and move his family to Spain and sign him when he was just 13. He first signed on a paper napkin as there were no sheets available at that moment.
5. His international debut for Argentina lasted just 47 seconds when he received a red card after coming on as a substitute.
6. Do you know Messi also has an Olympic gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Games?
7. In 2008, Messi inherited the No. 10 Barcelona jersey from another great – Ronaldinho – from Brazil.
8. Messi is the only player in the last 100 hundred years to have scored 91 goals in a calendar year during international competition with both his club and his country.
9. He was once offered a chance to play for the Spanish national team but he said no.
10. If Barcelona happen to cancel his contract, for whatever reason, they will have to pay up over USD 330 million for a breach in contract.
11. Messi is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. He also works in support of people suffering from Fragile X Syndrome (a type of autism).
12. Whenever he scores a goal, his simple celebration of raising his arms in the air is a gesture of gratitude to his grandmother who passed away when he was 10.
13. Messi’s left foot cast was used to create a solid gold replica by Japanese jeweller Ginza Takana, weighing 25 kilograms (55 lb), which went on sale in Japan in March 2013 to raise funds for victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. It was valued at USD 5.25 million.
14. He does not like to watch his own highlights on TV.