Here’s a look at the life of soccer player Lionel “Leo” Messi, who plays for the Argentina national team and Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami.
Date of birth: June 24, 1987
Birth place: Rosario, Argentina
Birth name: Lionel Andrés Messi
Father: Jorge Messi, worker
Mother: Celia Cuccittini de Messi
Marriage: Antonela Roccuzzo (June 30, 2017-present)
Children: Cyrus, Mateo and Thiago
As a boy, Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. At the age of 13 he signed with Futbol Club Barcelona and moved to Spain. As part of the contract, Barcelona agreed to pay for Messi’s hormone treatments.
All-time top scorer of FC Barcelona and the Spanish football league La Liga.
Winner of the Ballon d’Or, or footballer of the year, a record eight times: a record for four consecutive years (2009-2012) and again for 2015, 2019, 2021 and 2023.
He won the European Golden Shoe award six times: 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
1995-2000 – He plays for the local team, Newell’s Old Boys, in Rosario, Argentina.
2000-2003 – He signed with FC Barcelona and made his way through Barça’s youth team.
November 16, 2003 – He made his team debut, as a substitute, in a friendly match against FC Porto.
October 16, 2004 – He makes his official debut for FC Barcelona against Espanyol. Barça wins 1-0.
2007 – Establishes the Leo Messi Foundation, committed to improving access to education and healthcare for children.
August 2008 – He leads the Argentine soccer team to the gold medal at the Beijing Summer Olympics.
March 11, 2010 – Messi is announced as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Season 2011-2012 – Sets the all-time record for the most goals scored in a single season for a major European football league, with 73 goals.
June 2013 – The Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office presents charges of tax fraud against Messi and his father for the period between 2007 and 2009. The complaint alleges that Messi and his father, with the aim of lowering the Spanish tax burden, tried to manage the lucrative earnings of the player deriving from image rights through shell companies. established abroad. Messi denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
June 25, 2013 – Barcelona prosecutors tell CNN that Messi paid 10 million euros ($13 million) in taxes to cover the 2010-2011 tax period, but efforts to prosecute him for alleged tax fraud from 2007 to 2009 are still ongoing .
August 14, 2013 – Messi and his father, Jorge Messi, make a 5 million euro ($6.6 million) “reparation” payment to Spanish authorities for allegedly committing tax fraud between 2007 and 2009.
September 27, 2013 – Messi and his father testify in a Barcelona court at a preliminary hearing into allegations they defrauded Spanish taxes of more than $5 million.
March 16, 2014 – He scored a hat-trick (three goals during a match), becoming FC Barcelona’s all-time top scorer with 371 goals, eclipsing the record set by Paulino Alcantara, who scored 369 goals.
May 2014 – Signs a new contract with FC Barcelona worth an annual net worth of 20 million euros ($27 million).
June 2014 – A Spanish prosecutor is asking a judge to drop tax fraud charges against Messi, but not against his father.
July 13, 2014 – Messi wins the Ballon d’Or as the best player of the World Cup tournament.
July 28, 2014 – A judge rules that the tax fraud case against Messi and his father will go forward, despite the Spanish prosecutor’s request in June to drop the charges against Messi.
November 22, 2014 – Messi scores a hat-trick to become the Spanish League’s all-time top scorer with 253 goals, surpassing Telmo Zarra’s previous record of 251 goals.
8 October 2015 – A Spanish court rules that Messi and his father will be tried for tax fraud.
May 31, 2016 – Tax fraud trial begins for Messi and his father.
June 27, 2016 – He says he will likely retire from international football after Argentina lose the Copa America final to Chile on penalties.
6 July 2016 – A Barcelona court fined Messi 2 million euros ($2.3 million) and sentenced him to 21 months in prison for tax fraud. Spanish courts reduce Messi’s prison sentence to a further fine of 252,000 euros ($287,000) in July 2017.
August 12, 2016 – Messi announces he will play for Argentina again, after declaring in June that he would retire from international football.
5 July 2017 – Barcelona and Messi announce a contract extension that will keep Messi at Barca until June 30, 2021 and is reportedly worth 565,000 euros ($645,000) per week.
January 13, 2019 – He scores his 400th Spanish League goal in his 435th appearance, extending his record as La Liga’s all-time top scorer. Messi is the first player to score 400 times in one of the “big five” European leagues.
August 2, 2019 – Messi was banned from all competitions for three months and fined $50,000 by the CONMEBOL disciplinary tribunal. The punishment comes after Messi accused South American soccer’s governing body of corruption, suggesting the 2019 Copa America was rigged in favor of hosts Brazil.
August 5, 2021 – Messi will leave Barcelona, according to a club statement.
August 10, 2021 – French club Paris Saint-Germain have announced that they have signed Messi to a two-year contract with an option to renew for a third year.
January 2, 2022 – In a statement, Paris Saint-Germain announces that Messi is one of the four players of the French club to have tested positive for Covid-19. The other three players are Juan Bernat, Sergio Rico and Nathan Bitumazala.
May 30, 2022 – He talks about his struggle to recover from Covid-19 after testing positive in January. He missed three matches: two in Ligue 1 and one in the French Cup. “He left me with a hangover. He left me with side effects in my lungs. I came back and it was almost a month and a half without even being able to run because my lungs were affected.”
December 18, 2022 – Argentina beats France and wins the World Cup. Messi, in his fifth and last World Cup, scores twice. Subsequently, Messi wins his second Ballon d’Or.
June 7, 2023 – Messi says he will join MLS club Inter Miami. “I have decided that I will go to Miami. I’m not one hundred percent done yet. I miss some things, but we decided to continue my journey there, “he says in an interview published by the Spanish channels SPORT and Mundo Deportivo. On July 21 he makes his debut with the club.
August 19, 2023 – Messi scored to lead Inter Miami past Nashville FC on penalties to clinch the League Cup title and score the club’s first trophy.