On this day in 2004, Lionel Messi made his Barcelona debut v Espanyol

Lionel Messi during his early days at Barcelona

Barcelona's history would change forever exactly 15 years ago today.

On October 16 2004, Barcelona defeated Espanyol 1-0 at the RCDE Stadium.

And it so happens that a certain Lionel Messi made his professional debut for the club on the day.

The Argentine forward joined the club in 2011 and rapidly progressed through the youth teams.

He had only made a handful of appearances for Barcelona's second team in the Segunda Division B but Frank Rijkaard had been impressed by Messi in training.

Rijkaard placed the 17-year-old on the bench against Espanyol and he would replace Deco with eight minutes remaining.

"It is a very important date with regard to my career," Messi told Barca TV when discussing his debut last year, per Marca. "I was able to fulfil my childhood dream.

"The truth is that it was a very happy day. I was happy, but also very nervous.

"When I got on, I just enjoyed the moment. I remember I had a really good chance against the goalkeeper, but I didn't get hold of it.

"Rijkaard came up to me after the game and said that I missed the chance."

Watch highlights from his cameo below:

He showed glimpses of his supreme talent in his short cameo.

Messi would make just eight more appearances for the first team that season but he eventually established himself as a regular.

Since his debut 15 years ago, Messi has made 692 appearances for the club and scored 604 times.

Lionel Messi is now regarded as one of the best players ever

He's helped his side to 34 trophies, including 10 La Liga triumphs and four Champions Leagues.

Messi has also won five Ballon d'Or awards and is widely regarded as the best player ever to grace the game. 

Who would have thought the 17-year-old who came on 15 years ago would go on to become one of the best players of all-time?

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