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Name Lionel Messi
Gender Male
Ethnic Argentinian
Job Argentinian Footballer
Desc There is absolutely no denying the fact that ​Lionel Messi is the greatest player of the 21st century. On pure talent alone, no one comes close. To describe him as extraordinary would be a disservice, quite frankly, as we’ve seen him take apart practically every side in Europe single-handedly for Barcelona over the past few years. So why is he only at number three on this list? Argentina. He can’t quite guide his national side to glory, no matter how hard he tries and, until he can break that curse, that will always count against him in the GOAT debate

Affiliation

Org Argentinian National Team
Club as Player Barcelona FC

Relationship

Father Jorge Messi
Brother Angel Juarez Messi
Agent Josep Maria Minguella

2013 11 05 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Paul Scholes] At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher

2013 12 30 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on himself] It’s crazy that I’m compared to athletes like Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt or Muhammad Ali. I don’t like comparisons. Who am I to compare myself to someone else? I do my job and when my career is over we’ll see how well I’ve done. The biggest critic of Messi is Messi. I know when I do things correctly and when I do them poorly

2013 12 31 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi decides against letting his football do the talking for once and sparks panic at Camp Nou by publicly attacking vice-president Javier Faus] Javier Faus is a person who does not know anything about football. He tries to run Barcelona like a business, but this is a football club. Barcelona are the best club in the world and should also have the best directors in the world

2015 02 21 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on bouncing back from a disappointing 2014] I knew I was coming off the back of a not very good year, during which I went through a lot of problems on and off the field. It was a challenge to change the image that I had given out last season and to be the player I had been in previous seasons again. That was my objective and that’s how I came out at the start of this season, really up for it

2015 07 11 Retrieve

[Antonio Cuccitini on his grandson Lionel Messi at the Copa America] Some of him turned up. However, in the last three games he was poor. He was lazy

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi on Thierry Henry] The first day that he came into the dressing room, I did not dare to look him in the face. I knew everything that he had done in England

2015 10 11 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi comments on when Argentina and Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano gets a little moody] He has his days. Sometimes he comes in wanting to talk and make jokes, but he also has crazy days. When that’s the case it’s better not to talk to him. We see him there and no one dares to say anything

2016 01 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi explains that he hopes to get a taste of football in his homeland someday] It was always my dream when I was a boy, though I had to leave at a very early age because of my situation and it didn’t happen. I had to go to Europe, start out with Barcelona and make my career there. But I would like to return to Argentinian football one day

2016 02 27 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Barcelona team-mates Neymar and Luis Suarez] It’s wonderful playing with them. We get along really well on and off the pitch. We really are friends and that is really important to enable us to play this kind of football

2016 03 09 Retrieve

[on Francesco Totti] A great player! What a phenomenon!

2016 03 26 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi responding to President Obama wishes to meet him] For me it would be a source of great pride to be able to meet him and his daughters, but obviously I know it would be complicated. I don’t know whether it is possible

2016 05 28 Retrieve

[Even the biggest stars in the world can be left impressed by the sporting prowess of others and Lionel Messi has his eyes on a few off pitch/on court activities at the Copa America Centenario] Part of me is also hoping to meet Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Seeing him play is magical. Everyone loves what he does: basketball fans, teammates, rivals. Our small sizes, and even our playing styles, are similar. If you watch Curry play or, just as revealing, warm up before the game-you notice his relationship with the ball. It’s like his body and mind are always on the same wavelength with the ball. I try to have that connection in my sport

2016 07 02 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi announced his retirement from the Argentinian national team following his nation’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in Sunday’s Copa America Centenario final] In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important. I tried so hard to be [a] champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision

2016 09 09 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi talks about his son] I see that he doesn’t like football that much so I leave it. I’m not the type to buy him footballs or force him. [But] now the club has started something for the children and we’ll see if he gets hooked. He wants to win at everything. I also like to win, so I don’t let him. Even when we climb the stairs and he wins, he makes sure to tell me

2016 09 14 Retrieve

[Quotes on Luis Suarez] He is the best out-and-out forward there is in the game today. He has so much to offer the team and it is a pleasure to play alongside him. We also have a very good relationship off the pitch and I am very happy to be sharing everything with him

2016 09 17 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Andres Iniesta in an extract from the new book The Artist: Being Iniesta] On the pitch, I like him to be near me, especially when the game takes a turn for the worse, when things are difficult. That’s when I say to him: ‘Come closer, I want you by my side’. He takes control and responsibility; he leads the team. In the finals, Andrés, Xavi, Busquets and I have always liked to come together to give us a numerical advantage, to control the ball and the game

2016 11 25 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Steven Gerrard] Personally, I think Gerrard is England’s greatest ever player. I wish him a happy retirement

2016 11 26 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi claims his team are not reliant on him] I don’t consider talk of Barça being Messi-dependent to be praise or a concern, because it’s not the case. I’m in the best team in the world, [Barça] don’t depend on one player

2017 08 05 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi posts a farewell message to Neymar] It was an enormous pleasure to have shared these years with you Neymar, friend. I wish you a lot of luck in the next stage of your life. See you. Love you a lot

2017 10 14 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi speaking after playing an instrumental part in his country securing a Russia 2018 ticket] Fortunately everything went well and we are into the World Cup. We are calm now after achieving the main goal, that is the most important thing. All this time that we were away from the press and the fans helped us to be closer. It would have been crazy a World Cup without Argentina, this group didn’t deserve it. The team will change, will grow a lot and will come out stronger. It was a relief because we were in a tough spot. We got ourselves into this mess. It was not easy to play here, a lot of things happen from my mind when the 0-1 came, but the group overcame the situation very well and was quick to take the lead. There was some fear of missing the World Cup. We let pass a lot of opportunities and we had to decide our future in this game. We had to qualify, now it’s time to enjoy

2017 12 02 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi tells about his family life] The truth is that being a father is the most beautiful thing that’s happened to me in all my life. We have two children and are waiting for another; the first was an incredible feeling, the second the same and so will be the third

2017 12 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi responds to Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli’s statement that football owes Messi a FIFA World Cup] Yes, I did hear it, and he said it to me too. I hope football does end up paying me! [laughs]

2018 01 06 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi talks about his new year’s resolution] I want to be perfect and yet there are some parts of my game I have to improve to reach the maximum level. Which part? Penalties, I have to practice them more

2018 01 20 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi pays tribute to Ronaldinho] As I always said, I learned a lot by your side. I will always be grateful to you for how easy it was that you did everything to me when I got to the dressing room. I was lucky to share many things with you and I am very happy because, in addition to a phenomenon with the ball, you are a very great person and that is the most important thing. Even if you decide to leave, football will never forget your smile. All the best, Ronnie

2018 01 27 Retrieve

[Messi posts a farewell message to Javier Mascherano] Masche, after so many matches and moments together, words are not enough. You know I’m going to miss you, it will be strange to come to the dressing room and not see you sitting by my side. But we are going to the national team soon

2018 03 26 Retrieve

[Messi wrote in his book, The Patriot] When I was a kid I expected to get a call from the AFA [Argentinian Football Association]. I was asked informally if I wanted to play for Spain, but I always said that I wanted to play for my national team because I love Argentina and these are the only colours I want to wear. I was always an avid fan of the national team. I watched the games on television because I could never go to the grounds and watch them as a fan

2018 03 24 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi speaks about the support he has felt as the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia approaches] I have seen in many places in the world that people want this to be a good World Cup for me. The truth is I find this amazing, that in different parts of the world people want Argentina to win, and that people want me to be champion, it’s amazing

2018 12 22 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi reflects on his remarkable career to date] The truth is I had no idea this would happen when I started. I dreamt of playing professional football and enjoying success, I love the game, but I never imagined I would have so much

2019 03 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi shared his thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo. From one Champions League hat-trick record holder to another] What Cristiano and Juventus did on Tuesday was impressive. It was a big surprise. I thought Atletico would be a lot stronger, but Juve were all over them and Cristiano had a magical night

2019 04 01 Retrieve

[Hector Enrique says Messi will never reach Maradona’s level] It is hard, my son is always looking on YouTube and saw a video. He asked me why in Argentina they want to kill me! But I like to keep going. I still want to win something with the national team. I am going to play all the important games. We already reached a World Cup final [in 2014] and this is not that easy.

2019 07 07 Retrieve

[Gary Medel has backed Lionel Messi following their red-card altercation on Saturday night. The incident occurred during the Copa America third-place play-off between Messi’s Argentina and Medel’s Chile, and saw both players receive their marching orders] There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren’t allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football

2019 09 28 Retrieve

[The Best FIFA Men’s Player Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo] Because of the big sporting rivalry that’s developed between us over the last few years, because one us played for Barcelona and the other for [Real] Madrid, and because we won individual awards. People perhaps think the rivalry goes beyond football, but it doesn’t. We both want what’s best for our teams and neither of us like losing. It’s something we don’t accept. That’s why there’s that competitiveness between us. The important thing is that it stays there, out on the pitch

2019 11 02 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on former Brazil forward Ronaldo] Ronaldo [Nazario] was a phenomenon. Of all the strikers I ever saw, he was the best. He was impressive

2020 01 18 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on the rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo when the pair were both playing in Spain] It was a special duel, and it will remain forever because it lasted many years and it is not easy to maintain certain levels for a long time. Plus, the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barça, the two best in the world

2020 02 05 Retrieve

[Shortly after Abidal’s interview was released, Messi took to Instagram to hit back, along with a picture of Abidal’s quote about the players not working hard] Sincerely, I don’t like to do these things but I think that people have to be responsible for their jobs and own their decisions.

The players (are responsible) for what happens on the pitch and we are the first to admit when we haven’t been good. The heads of the sports department have to take their responsibilities too and above all own the decisions they make

Finally I think that when you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it makes everyone dirty and gives air to things that are said which are not true

2020 04 10 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi’s reputation with the continental tournament, however, has been tarnished after his controversial claims that the 2019 Copa America was rigged in favour of hosts Brazil] There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I hope the VAR and referees don’t play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me. I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren’t allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football

2020 04 22 Retrieve

[Italian nutritionist Giuliano Poser has revolutionised the Argentina international’s diet since working with him in 2014] Also very good are nuts and seeds. [Sugar] is the worst thing for the muscles. The farther he stays away from sugars, the better. Refined flours are also a big problem as these days, it’s difficult to find uncontaminated wheat. The amount of meat normally eaten by Argentinians and Uruguayans is too much, as it is difficult to digest. My methods are not in doubt, everyone can see Leo week in, week out



2020 04 22b Retrieve

[Athletes’ Performance Craig Friedman, however, has explained the natural phenomena behind Messi’s speed and agility] First you have to be explosive and powerful. Then, you have to be stable enough through your ankles, hips and torso to be able to deliver that power efficiently into the ground. And finally, you have to deliver the power into the ground in the right direction, and that’s where technique comes in

He’s a small guy but his rate of force development is very high and his power-to-weight ratio is just ridiculous

2020 04 26 Retrieve

[In recent years the disappointment has been so bitter that he has retired from international duty before reversing his decision. But if he had the ability to, Messi wouldn’t swap club triumphs for success with the national team] I would’ve loved to be a world champion. But I don’t think I would change anything else in my career to be one. This is what I was given, what God gave me. It is what it is. I couldn’t dream of everything that I experienced after. It was far bigger than anything I could’ve imagined

2020 04 27 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi did not contract the virus, but the Argentine did issue a statement of support to those in distress while in isolation with his family] These are complicated days for everyone. We live worried about what is happening and want to help by removing ourselves from the places where those are having the worst of it, either because it directly affected them or their family and friends, or because they are working on the front line to combat it in hospitals and health centres. I want to send a lot of strength to all of them

2020 05 04 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?] It was a duel that will last forever because it went on for many years, and it isn’t easy to keep at your highest level for so long – especially at those two clubs we were at, which were so demanding, in Real Madrid and Barcelona, the best clubs in the world. Competing head to head for so many years will be remembered forever. The sporting rivalry between us was very nice on a personal level. I think that the fans also enjoyed it, be they Madrid or Barca supporters, or just those who like football

2020 05 14 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi’s cousin Maxi Biancucchi has explained how the Barcelona star found a way to cope with being smaller than oppposition players from a young age] In the neighbourhood he played with us, we were bigger than him, and they told us: ‘Crazy, get him out because we are going to kill him.’ They wanted to hit him, but he put up with it. When he was eight or nine, I would get up early on Saturdays to watch him play and he’d do impressive things. I could not believe it

Leo has a lot of love for Argentina, people never understand that. If it were not for insecurity, I have no doubt that he would play in Argentina, that is the only thing that can affect him when it comes to him returning. It is my dream to be able to see Leo at Newell’s, but I see it as complicated. It is difficult, imagine that Messi plays a Classico, the kids have to go to school…the city is hell.

[Messi admitted last year he does dream of returning to Newell’s but stressed his family comes first] I have the dream of being able to play for Newell’s in Argentina, but I don’t know if it’s really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future. We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina. I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too

2020 05 14b Retrieve

[Messi hails Lautaro as an ‘impressive striker’ as Barcelona rumours continue] If I’m honest I don’t know very well if there were or are negotiations right now, I have no idea. I think I already mentioned it, that Lautaro is an impressive striker, especially because I think he is a very complete forward. He is strong, he dribbles well, he scores goals, he knows how to protect the ball …But well, we will have to see what happens finally with him and with other players

2020 05 15 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi insisted Barcelona cannot win the Champions League unless they improve their performances] I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing. Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable. Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing. Perhaps Setien misunderstood

This break may end up benefiting us, but we are going to see if they can start the competitions and there we will leave doubts, because we will check the level that we have or can reach when we start. Going back to training is a first step but we should not trust ourselves and we must continue taking all the necessary precautions and assume that we have to start playing the games when they arrive but behind closed doors. Personally I am looking forward to the competitions. We know that everything is going to be weird, without fans in the stadium and with the theme of the concentrations that we really would not like to have to be separated from our families. You have to see how it looks

Physically I feel very well. I was training at home these days and I think it helped me to keep fit. Very hard confinement, but with the children and with Antonela everything ends up becoming moments that I try to enjoy all together

2020 05 19 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi has called Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and wants him by his side soon] Messi called him and wants him by his side soon, I have no doubt. For that reason, the deal to sign him is almost there. I know things will go well in Barcelona and that Lautaro will be an excellent replacement for Suarez. He’s the ideal heir. Thanks to Barca he will continue to grow as a player and a man. In terms of Argentine players, he has the same qualities as Sergio Aguero. I think he’s on that path and will have a successful career like him. I would even say Lautaro is better in the air and much better with his left foot, but he will have to prove that with time. I hope he can. Going to play with the best player in the world, who is still 32 and has three or four years ahead of him… to be Messi’s team-mate can make him even better and help him with the national team. Lautaro and Leo will improve their understanding on the pitch

[On the ability that he noted at a young age, with Real Madrid snubbed along the way] I will never forget it. It was November 2013 and there were trials. Fabio Radaelli and Alfredo Acosta saw him on one of the teams and called me immediately: ‘Adrian, there’s an extraordinary player, we have to sign him whatever’. I told them our 1997 generation was already full of top talents, that we didn’t have space, but Fabio insisted that we backed this kid, so we signed him. Lautaro came in January 2014 and lived at the academy for two or three years. He was a clever kid, focused and humble. He always knew he wanted to be a professional. He did everything possible to achieve it and never lost sight of his big objective. He rejected an offer when he was with us from Real Madrid. We told him the most important thing at that stage was to continue with Racing, to make his debut and to spend some time in the Argentine league. Luckily he listened to us and made his debut in October 2015 when he was just 18, coming on for none other than Diego Milito. Now, in Italy, he’s showing everything we believed he would. He surprised us every day, despite being so young, because he was a complete forward and a pure goalscorer

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Quique Setien has rejected Lionel Messi’s claim that Barcelona were on course for more Champions League disappointment] I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing. Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable. Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play in the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing

2020 05 27 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi admits he could never have imagined the global repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic] I don’t think anyone could have seen something like this coming. Some people warned that worldwide pandemics could happen from time to time, but I really never could have imagined it would unfold like it did, or the enormous impact it’s having on virtually the entire world. Living or working with so much uncertainty is never easy, especially when faced with a situation as unheard-of as this one. We all wonder when we’ll get back to work, when we’ll start training and competing again. For any soccer player, it’s crucial to stay focused when you hit the field

[Regarding the return of Spanish football without fans] There is talk of finishing out the Spanish league’s season without spectators, which brings a whole set of challenges. The group preparation is the same as for any other game, but individually each person needs to prepare and visualise playing without fans, because it’s very strange. I had to do it for a home game, and it was downright spooky. But it’s normal that the league would resume this way after everything we’ve been going through. With all that’s happening in the world, it’s perfectly understandable. When we start playing again, it will be like starting from scratch. We’ll have some time to get ready before the league starts up, and we’ll also get back key players on our team who were injured. Technically it will still be the same season, but I think every team and player will feel it’s different. Even though I don’t play two games per week anymore, I try to train every day, and I do the drills they send us. It’s obviously a far cry from training with the team, and the worst part is not having the constant games, but it’s the new normal we have to live with. That’s why we’ll need some time to prepare before competing again.

Pushing back the Copa America was a huge disappointment, but of course it was to be expected and was the reasonable thing to do. The Copa was going to be a big occasion for me this year, and I was extremely excited to compete in it again. It hit me hard when I learned it would be postponed, but I completely understood. We can’t dwell on what we’re leaving behind this year. It’s better to look to the future. To getting back to the daily training routine, to seeing team-mates, to playing the first games. I’m sure it will be strange at first, but I’m very eager to start competing again!

2020 05 27b Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi has admitted he could never have imagined the global repercussions of the pandemic as his side aims to get their title chase back underway] I don’t think anyone could have seen something like this coming. Some people warned that worldwide pandemics could happen from time to time, but I really never could have imagined it would unfold like it did, or the enormous impact it’s having on virtually the entire world

2020 05 28 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi is preparing for life in La Liga following the coronavirus pandemic and admits it will be strange to play again] I don’t think anyone could have seen something like this coming. Some people warned that worldwide pandemics could happen from time to time, but I really never could have imagined it would unfold like it did, or the enormous impact it’s having on virtually the entire world. Living or working with so much uncertainty is never easy, especially when faced with a situation as unheard-of as this one. We all wonder when we’ll get back to work, when we’ll start training and competing again. For any soccer player, it’s crucial to stay focused when you hit the field. When we start playing again, it will be like starting from scratch. We’ll have some time to get ready before the league starts up, and we’ll also get back key players on our team who were injured. Technically it will still be the same season, but I think every team and player will feel it’s different.

2020 05 29 Retrieve

[Where Messi favourite Lautaro would fit in at Barcelona] He is spectacular, he has incredible talent, you could see he was going to be a great player and now he has exploded and is showing it. He is very strong, he is brilliant in one-on-one situations, he scores goals, he takes on anyone in the area. He holds the ball up, he pivots, he goes looking for the ball. He has so much talent, he is a complete player

2020 05 29b Retrieve

[Who came first in football: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?] We have shared the stage 15 years. I don’t know if that’s happened before - the same two guys on the same stage all the time

2020 05 31 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Messi thinks coronavirus pandemic will change the game forever] Most of us are left with doubts about what the world is going to be like after everything that has happened. Beyond the confinement and the situation that took us by surprise, many people had a really hard time because this situation affected them in some way, as it happened with all those who lost their family and friends and could not even see them. I think there were a lot of negative things in this crisis, but there can be nothing worse than losing the people you love the most, that creates enormous frustration for me and seems to me the most unfair thing of all. Soccer, like life in general, I think will never be the same

The ambitions are the same, win all we can and I think that we’re in good shape to do that, I see the team doing well and it’s hopeful

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[Messi vs Setien] I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing. Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable. Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play in the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing

2020 06 12 Retrieve

[Messi sees football as a ‘gift’ as Barcelona star prepares to return after coronavirus-enforced break] Being away from the game has made me think. I feel like any other player. I just want to play. And to play our game is a gift. To be supported by so many, even more so. To be able to inspire others, and be inspired. And maybe the greatest gift of all: to create joy for others. So, now the game has returned, I’m ready for its gift again

2020 06 14 Retrieve

[Messi-chasing pitch invader faces stiff punishment after breaking coronavirus protocol] It was a great experience, I jumped over a two-metre fence. My dream is to have a photo with Messi, I went for him, I took some photos and the police forced me to delete them

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Messi, though, was not as familiar with Arthur Melo’s talents. He was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to discover that the new arrival’s style of play bore a striking resemblance to that of a former team-mate] I didn’t know that much about Arthur but he seems similar to Xavi. He’s very safe and trustworthy. He has La Masia style: playing short passes, without losing the ball. He grasped it very quickly, the dynamic of the team

2020 07 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi gave an outspoken interview after Barcelona’s reign as La Liga champions came to an embarrassing end as 10-man Osasuna pulled off a shock 2-1 win at the Camp Nou wih a stoppage-time goal on Thursday] We have lost a lot of points which we shouldn’t have done. We have been very inconsistent. We need to be self-critical, starting with the players, but also across the entire club. We are Barcelona, and we are obliged to win every game