Lionel Messi will go down in history as one of the best football players to ever grace the game of football even with his streak of injuries. He has a relationship with the football that is akin to that of romantic lovers.
Ever since Lionel Messi made his debut for FC Barcelona on May 1, 2005, at the record-breaking age of 16, no other player has set the footballing world on fire like the diminutive Argentine.
Let’s show you how it all started with Lionel Messi and how injuries had deterred him from achieving beyond human comprehension.
Lionel Messi: Early Life
Luis Lionel Andres (“Leo”) Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario Argentina.
Messi’s passion for football was evident at a tender age. He always tagged along when his two older brothers to play soccer with their friends, unintimidated by the bigger boys.
At the age of 8, he was recruited to join the youth system of Newell’s Old Boys, a Rosario-based club.
At the age of 11, doctors diagnosed Messi with growth hormone deficiency (GHD). This condition stunted growth and required expensive medical treatment, such as the one required the use of the drug, Human growth hormone.
Messi’s local club, River Plate were interested in signing Messi but couldn’t afford his medical treatment. Well, the Spanish football giant, Barcelona, took interest in Lionel Messi.
They gave him a trial at the club side, and coach Charles Rexach was impressed with the youngster’s performance. He offered Messi a contract written on a paper napkin that included paying for Messi’s treatment in Spain.
Messi then moved to Barcelona with his father and became part of the Catalonia pride, FC Barcelona, youth academy. From then onward, it’s been history.
Lionel Messi: Medical Condition
Lionel Messi was diagnosed by doctors as suffering from a hormone deficiency that restricted his growth. This deficiency made him recognizably smaller than most of the kids in his age group.
Young Lionel was put on a regimen of nightly growth-hormone injections, but soon, his parents found it impossible to pay several hundred dollars per month for the medication.
At the age of 13, when Messi was offered the chance to train at soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, and have his medical bills covered by the team, Messi’s left Rosario and made Spain their new home.
Lionel Messi: La Masia Report Card
Lionel Messi rose through the ranks with pace. He made spectacular progress at each of the different age levels, climbing through the ranks to Barca C, followed by Marca B and the first team in record time.
In the 2003-2004 season, when he was only 16, Messi made his first-team debut in a friendly game with Porto that marked the opening of the new Do Dragao stadium.
The following season, Messi made his first appearance in an official match on October 16, 2004, against Espanyol. Messi became a regular feature at Barca when several first-team players became seriously injured.
His breakthrough season came in the 2005-06 season, starting with an amazing performance in the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus. Messi was also outstanding at the Santiago Bernabeu, in Barcelona’s unforgettable 3-0 win, and also at Stamford Bridge, in the Champions League match against Chelsea.
Since his formative years, Messi has gone on to win 34 trophies with Barcelona, while shattering various individual records along the way. In 2004, Messi broke a 40-year-old record held by the German legend Gerd Muller when he set a new record for the most goals in a calendar year- 91, excluding friendly games.
During the 2012-13 season, he managed to score in 21 games in a row in La Liga, only failing to score in four league games that season. In 2012, he also became the first player to score five goals in a single Champions League game – against Bayer Leverkusen.
Although he hasn’t won an enviable number of trophies with his country, Argentina, Messi has in his collection a Beijing 2008 Olympic gold media. He also won the Under-20 World Cup with his country.
Lionel Messi’s most astonishing personal accolade is becoming the first player to win six (6) Ballon D’Ors.
Injuries are part of the realities of footballers. Highly talented footballers have seen their career cut short as a result of injuries and Lionel Messi is not an exception.
In his professional career spanning almost 17 years, Lionel Messi has been injured a couple of times. Here is a ranking of his major injuries and how it affected his season performance.
Messi started the season with flair, making 17 appearances and netting 6 goals. However, his season was ended early by a muscle tear in his right calf in a Champions League game against Chelsea. This injury ruled him out of the CL finals which Barcelona won.
On November 12, 2006, in a game against Real Zaragoza, Messi suffered from a broken metatarsal, ruling him out for three months. He ended the season with 26 games and scored 14 goals.
The 2013-14 season one was the longest period Lionel Messi spent on the sideline due to injury. He was out for eight weeks. The argentine suffered four separate muscle injuries in 2013. He featured in 16 of Barca’s 19 games and also netted 46 goals for club and country.
Lionel Messi’s 2018 injury almost made him miss the 2018 World Cup. He picked up a groin injury in a shock defeat to Venezuela. Messi missed three weeks in the season but still ended up with the most goals and assists in Europe’s top 5 leagues. To crown the season, Messi was voted as the fifth-best player in the FIFA awards.
Lionel Messi missed the opening matches of Barcelona’s 2019-20 campaign due to injury. He missed two months of club side football due to a calf injury.
So far this season, despite his injury, Lionel Messi has made 31 appearances with 24 assists.
While we expect to see more Messi action in the La Liga, Messi bemoans the Rona effect on the games.
Injuries are inevitable for footballers, but hopefully, Lionel Messi will avoid sustaining any career-ending injury. And with this hope, many of his fans are expecting to see him create more records that no footballer would break in a long time coming.