Lionel Messi was born as Luis Lionel Andres Messi on June 24, 1987 in Argentina’s Rosari. One of the greatest footballers in the world comes from a humble background. In fact, at the age of 11 when he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, his parents were unable to afford his treatment that costed $900 per month. He could undergo the treatment only after he signed a contract with FC Barcelona and moved to Spain. The football club had paid for his treatment.
In terms of his personal life, Messi is happily married to Antonella Roccuzzo since 2017. The duo is blessed with three sons - Thiago Messi, Ciro Messi and Mateo Messi. He is not only a great player but is also a great human at heart. The footballer has made generous contributions to several noble causes.
On his birthday today, here is a look at some of the lesser known facts about him:
The footballer is also known as ‘The Flea’ for his agility and speed.
Messi is one of the richest football players in the world. His net worth is around $126 million.
Carles Rexach, Barcelona’s first team director was so impressed with his skills that he signed him immediately. Since there was no paper available at that moment the contract was written on a tissue paper.
Messi made his FC Barcelona debut in 2003 in a match against RCD Espanyol. He was all of 17 at that time and was the third youngest person ever to play for Barcelona. Not only that he was also the youngest player to ever score for the club.
He has two passports. As he is a citizen of Argentina and Spain. He took Spanish citizenship in 2005.
Messi inherited the Barcelona jersey No.10 from iconic footballer Ronaldinho in 2008.
The footballer won his first FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2009.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation had approached the ace player to join the Spanish Football Team but he denied the offer.
He founded the Leo Messi Foundation that aims at providing children with the best education and healthcare facilities.
Messi is also the Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).