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The six-time Golden Ball Lionel Messi has announced that he wants to leave his long-standing club, FC Barcelona. Back in pictures on his 16 years spent in the professional group of the Catalan club, from his first match in 2004 to his captaincy in 2018 through his myriad of titles.
It was long believed that Lionel Messi would remain the man of only one club: FC Barcelona. Tired by a nightmarish season, the Argentinian superstar player told the Catalan club that he wanted to be released from his contract, according to AFP sources. The Blaugrana legend would therefore like to end his love affair with the club with which he has known and won everything. Back in pictures on this 20-year “love-story” between Lionel Messi and the Blaugranes.
The first pro game: a derby against Espanyol Barcelona
Arrived at FC Barcelona at the age of 13, in 2000, Lionel Messi cut his teeth in La Masia, the prestigious training center of the Catalan club. He signed his first professional contract on February 4, 2004 and quickly made his debut for the first team in the derby against Espanyol Barcelona on October 16 of the same year.
The first goal: a lobe against Albacete
1is April 2005, Lionel Messi scores his first goal for FC Barcelona in a 2-0 win in La Liga against Albacete. At the 90e minute, following a combination with Ronaldinho, he is found in the box and tries a lobe on the goalkeeper. At 17 years and 310 days, he becomes the youngest goalscorer in club history
The first hat-trick: three goals in a Clasico
On March 10, 2007, the young “Leo” Messi will shine for the first time in a Clasico against Real Madrid. From the top of his 19 years, he scored the first of his 41 trebles with Barça (54 in total to date in his career). He then allows his teammates to pick up the score three times. Final score: 3-3.
The goal against Getafe: like an air of Maradona?
On April 18, 2007, Lionel Messi scored the best goal in club history against Getafe. Starting from his own camp, the Argentinian had reviewed all the defense before planting the ball in the back of the opposing net. The manner reminds Diego Maradona against England during the 1986 World Cup.
2009: six titles in one calendar year and a Golden Ball
The year 2009 is often regarded as the year of the Argentine hatching. Messi takes advantage of Ronaldinho’s departure to swap number 19 for number 10 and establish himself as a key player in the squad led by Catalan technician Pep Guardiola. Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League, Spanish Supercup, European Supercup and Club World Cup… FC Barcelona, led by its number 10, won all of the six competitions in which it participated in 2009. On an individual level , Lionel Messi wins his first Golden Ball.
2012: Quintupled in the Champions League and 86 goals in the year
That year, Lionel Messi enters a little more into the history of the Champions League. In the eighth final return of the Champions League at Camp Nou, he scored a quintuplet against Bayer Leverkusen (7-1). La Pulga is the first player to achieve a quintuplet in the modern formula of the Champions League.
2014/2017: the reign of “MSN”
In 2015, Barça seems untouchable. While Messi continues to beat record after record, the Catalan club has added the services of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez and Brazilian Neymar. Messi-Suarez-Neymar, the “MSN” forms a perfect agreement to animate the attacking front of Barça and will panic the statistics: in the 2014/15 season: 122 goals, 66 assists between them. In the following season: 131 goals and 79 assists, then 111 goals and 66 assists in their last season all three. The three friends together won the 2015 Champions League, two Spanish championships, three Copa del Rey, a Spanish Supercup and a Club World Cup.
2018 and 2019: Barça captain and sixth golden ball
Following the departure of Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi became captain of FC Barcelona in July 2018. Then, thanks to the success of FC Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup (2-1 victory), Lionel Messi won his 33e title with the Barcelona club, becoming the most successful player in Blaugrana history. He leads his team to the La Liga title in 2019 and wins a sixth Ballon d’Or, which allows him to pass Ronaldo and remain the only record holder on this individual award.
2020: the break?
Annoyed by the terrible 8-2 rout in the Champions League quarter-final on August 14 against Bayern Munich, future winner of the event, tired by a nightmarish season which saw FC Barcelona end up without a title and bored with a unconvincing sporting project, legend Leo Messi seems determined to leave his heart club. Love stories end badly, in general.
Lionel Messi’s record at FC Barcelona:
- 4 Champions Leagues (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015)
- 10 Spanish Championships (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)
- 6 King’s Cups (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
- 3 Supercoupes d’Europe (2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2015-2016)
- 8 Spanish Super Cups (2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2016-2017, 2018-2019)
- 3 Club Worlds (2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2015-2016)