* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 September 2017.
† Appearances (Goals).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 September 2017
Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾes ˈmesi]) (born 24 June 1987) is an Argentinefootballer. He plays for Barcelona as a forward. He also has Spanish citizenship, meaning he can play for Spain. He is for many the best football player of all time. Many people say that he is the world's best player. Messi has several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. His playing style and skills are very similar to legend Diego Maradona. There is much competition between him and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo because of their similar skill levels and as them being the two best footballers.
Messi began football at a young age and his potential was quickly seen by Barcelona. He left Newell's Old Boys' youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe for Barcelona. They moved to Spain because Barcelona offered treatment for his growth hormone deficiency. He started in the 2004–05 season, and he broke Barcelona's record for the youngest footballer to score a goal. Barcelona won La Liga that season, and won a double of the league and UEFA Champions League in 2006. His first very good season was in the 2006–07 season; he became a first team regular, by scoring a hat-trick in El Clásico. He scored 14 goals in 26 league games. Maybe his most successful season was the 2008–09 season. In this season, Messi scored 38 goals. In the following 2009–10 season, Messi scored 47 goals in all games. That equals to Ronaldo's (Brazilian) record total for Barcelona. He is on the cover of PES 2010, PES 2011, PES 2015, and PES 2016. He is on the cover of FIFA 15, FIFA 14.
Messi decided to play for his homeland, Argentina, in 2005. He led the team to the final game of the 2005 U-20 World Cup against Nigeria, which ended in a 2–1 Argentine victory, this means that Messi and his national team would eventually win the U-20 World Cup. In addition to the gold medal, Messi was awarded with the Golden Shoe for most goals scored and Golden Ball for best player. Messi was made captain of the national team in 2011.
When not playing on the field Messi finds time to do charity work. He started the Leo Messi Foundation which helps children in at-risk situations. Messi also opened a kids park for children living in the hospital at the University hospital Vall d’hebron In Barcelona.