Lionel Andrés Messi, nicknamed Leo Messi, is an Argentine proficient player who currently plays for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and has led Argentina. Messi has been recognized as one of the greatest players in the history of football, having won seven Ballon d’Or medals and six European Golden Boots. He played his entire professional career at Barcelona, where he won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, and four UEFA Champions Leagues. He helped his country win the Copa America in 2021 and the World Cup of FIFA in 2022. Messi is a prolific striker and creative playmaker who owns the La Liga records for most goals (474), hat-tricks (36) and UEFA Champions League (eight), and assists (192) and Copa América (17). He also has the most international goals (102) of any South American guy. Messi has over 800 professional career goals for both clubs and his nation, including the most by one team (672).
Messi, an Argentine by international standards, holds both the national performance record and the record for most goals scored in a single season. He earned the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards in the youth level’s FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005, as well as an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Games. Diego Maradona, a fellow countryman who labeled Messi his heir, was compared to him because of his petite size and left-footed dribbling skills. In August 2005, Messi made his professional debut. In 2006, he was the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup. In 2007, he advanced to the Copa América final and was awarded the young player of the competition. Beginning in August 2011, he led Argentine to three straight championship games: the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball; the 2015 Copa América; as well as the 2016 Copa America. After declaring his retirement from international competition in 2016, he then changed his mind and assisted his country in winning the 2021 Copa América, coming in first place at the 2019 Copa América, and advancing to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, for which he was awarded the Golden Ball and Golden Boot. Messi got a record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or in 2021 for his accomplishment. He captained Argentina to victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, when he earned a record second Golden Ball, became the first player to score in all four rounds of a World Cup (including two in the final), and broke the record for most performances in World Cup competitions with 26 matches performed. Messi has been an Adidas ambassador since 2006. He was the world’s highest-paid footballer for a period of five in a row between 2009 and 2014, according to France Football, and Forbes named him the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2019 and 2022. Messi was named one of Time magazine’s top 100 most important persons in the world in 2011, 2012, and 2023. In 2020 and 2023, he was named Laureus World Athlete of the Year, making him the first footballer and the first team-sport sportsman to receive the honor. Messi became the second soccer and second team-sport player to earn more than $1 billion in his career in 2020.