Lionel Messi arrived in Barcelona on this day in 2000

Tottenham Hotspur v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B

It will be a long, long time before football sees a player quite like Lionel Messi.

Actually, that’s not a certainty. Football may never see a player as good as the Argentinian magician.

You wouldn’t have to talk to many people before you find one who believes Messi is the greatest player of all-time.

Indeed, the list of managers and former and current players who have declared Messi the GOAT is quite extensive.

Wayne Rooney, Arsene Wenger, Eden Hazard, David Beckham, Ronaldinho, Xavi… the list goes on.

Messi has scored 603 goals for Barcelona, winning 33 honours along the way.

But it all started in 2000, when a 13-year-old Messi made the trip from Rosario, his hometown in Argentina, to Barcelona.


It is 19 years to the day that Messi made the journey. On Sunday, September 17 2000, he arrived at El Prat airport in Barcelona after flying across the Atlantic with his father Jorge and agent Fabian Soldini.

Messi arrived in Spain for a trial with the Catalan club.

And three months later, on December 14 2000, Messi’s first Barcelona contract was written - on a napkin.

FC Barcelona v Juventus - UEFA Champions League

The story is iconic.

Carlos Rexach, Barcelona’s first team director at the time, didn’t want to waste any time in securing Messi’s signing and so drew up a contract on a napkin.

It read: “In Barcelona, on December 14, 2000, and in the presence of Messrs Minguella and Horacio, Carlos Rexach, Technical Secretary of FC Barcelona is committed under his responsibility and despite some opinions against signing the player Lionel Messi as long as we maintain the agreed amounts.”

It was the best decision that Barcelona have ever made.

What Messi has accomplished during his time at the club is incredible.

He’s won 10 La Liga titles, six Copa del Reys and four Champions League titles.

Then there are the goals and the five Ballon d’Or triumphs.

He’s without doubt Barcelona’s greatest ever player.

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