Happy 33rd birthday to the greatest player to have ever played the game - Lionel Messi.
Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old and was making his first-team debut by the age of 17.
And he hasn’t looked back since.
By 22, he was winning the first of his six Ballon d’Ors. He claimed the prestigious accolade for four consecutive years from 2009-2012.
In the calendar year of 2012, Messi scored a quite ridiculous 91 goals, breaking the all-time world record for most goals scored in a single year.
It’s just one of many records Messi currently holds.
Here are just some of them:
- Only player in history to score 40+ club goals in 10 consecutive seasons (2009/10 - 2018/19)
- Most consecutive league matches scored in: 21 matches (33 goals)
- Only footballer to score 60+ goals in all competitions in 2 consecutive seasons (2011/12 and 2012/13)
- Most league goals in history across Europe's top 5 leagues: 438 league goals
- Most European Golden Shoe awards: 6
- Fastest player to reach 100 UEFA Champions League goals (123 games)
- Youngest player to reach 100 appearances in the Champions League
- Most league goals scored in a season: 50 goals
- Most trophies won in Spanish football: 33 trophies
- All time Barcelona top scorer in all games: 658 goals
- Argentina all-time top scorer: 70 goals
- Argentina all-time most assists: 42 assists
And many, many more….
After picking up his latest Ballon d'Or, Messi talked about the one thing all football fans dread - his retirement.
"I'm aware of how old I am. And I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies," Messi admitted.
"I hope, God willing, that I keep playing for many more years. I'm now 32, though, and will be 33 at the end of the season, so, as I said, everything depends on how I feel physically.
"Right now I feel better than ever on a physical and a personal level, and I hope I can go on for a lot longer."
Let's just hope he continues to play at the highest level for as long as possible. Because it will be a very sad day for football without him.
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