Lionel Messi: 20 career defining moments

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20 moments that defined Barcelona maestro

Words by Ben Church and Calum Trenaman, CNN

He’s 1 of the world’s top ever players, who appeared destined to beryllium a one-club man. But present Lionel Messi’s narration with Barcelona looks to beryllium irreparably fractured. CNN looks astatine 20 defining moments successful the vocation of the shot superstar, who mesmerized, broke records and transcended his sport.

Lionel Messi and Barcelona: The highs and lows 0:59

    • At conscionable 17 years, 3 months, and 22 days old, Lionel Messi makes his authoritative league debut for Barcelona, coming connected arsenic a substitute precocious successful the game. against Espanyol. At the time, helium becomes the youngest subordinate to correspond the nine successful an authoritative crippled aft joining the club’s famed La Masia academy successful 2000, moving from Argentine nine Newell’s Old Boys arsenic a 13-year-old.

    • Messi makes his debut for Argentina successful a affable against Hungary astatine the property of 18, coming connected successful the 63rd infinitesimal but receives a reddish paper and is sent disconnected conscionable 2 minutes aboriginal for a perceived elbow against defender Vilmos Vanczak.

    • There’s nary uncertainty Barcelona has thing peculiar connected its hands and the satellite is starting to instrumentality announcement arsenic good erstwhile he’s named the Golden Boy -- the grant for the champion young subordinate successful Europe.

    • After a rocky commencement to his planetary career, Messi scores his archetypal extremity for Argentina with a signature tally and curled left-foot effort successful a affable decision to Croatia.

    • Coming connected successful the 74th infinitesimal against Serbia and Montenegro, Messi becomes the youngest-ever subordinate to correspond Argentina astatine the World Cup. He scores the last extremity successful a 6-0 win, becoming the youngest scorer astatine the tourney and the sixth-youngest goalscorer successful tournament’s history. However, big Germany knocks Argentina retired of the tourney successful the quarterfinals.

    • Messi is gaining a estimation for being 1 of the hottest teenagers successful satellite shot by present and his 3 goals against Real Madrid successful 2007 turned him into a household name. It’s his archetypal hat-trick for the nine and surely not his last.

    • Few goals successful the past of shot tin comparison to this one. Messi slaloms his mode past aggregate Getafe defenders to people possibly the top extremity of his career. It strangely mirrors a extremity scored by compatriot Diego Maradona against England successful the 1986 World Cup successful Mexico.

    • Barcelona initially bans Messi from taking portion successful the tourney earlier caller nine manager Pep Guardiola steps successful to let his participation. Lining up successful an all-star Argentina side, featuring chap youngsters Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria, Argentina wins each lucifer connected their mode to securing the golden medal astatine the Beijing Olympics.

    • Messi had already won the Champions League successful 2006 erstwhile making his mode into the archetypal squad but helium is the prima antheral successful 2009. He finishes the run arsenic the tournament's apical scorer and nets successful the last against Manchester United successful a 2-0 triumph astatine Rome’s Olympic Stadium. He’s won a vocation full of 4 European titles to date.

    • Having inspired Barcelona to an historical treble successful the aforesaid twelvemonth -- it won the league, home cupful and Champions League -- Messi is officially named the champion subordinate successful the satellite for the archetypal time.

    • Mirroring the 2006 World Cup, Germany defeats Argentina successful the quarterfinals successful 2010, this clip by a 4-0 margin. Messi is inactive named successful the Team of the Tournament, though manager and Argentina fable Diego Maradona is sacked aft the World Cup. Failing to replicate his performances for Barcelona, and Maradona’s 1986 World Cup heroics, Messi suffers accusations of caring much astir nine than country.

    • After a dismal 2011 Copa America tourney held successful Argentina, Messi is made skipper of the nationalist squad nether caller manager Alejandro Sabella. The assignment surprises galore arsenic Messi had travel nether disapproval for what immoderate saw arsenic sub-par performances astatine the tournament.

    • Goals conscionable support coming for the magician astatine nine level and, astatine conscionable 24, helium breaks Barcelona’s scoring grounds antecedently held by Cesar Rodriguez. His archetypal extremity against Granada pulls him adjacent connected 232, earlier his 2nd and 3rd interruption it.

    • Argentina loses 1-0 to Germany successful the World Cup last aft a Mario Götze victor successful extra-time. Messi begrudgingly accepts the Golden Ball grant for subordinate of the tournament.

    • Records support falling astatine the feet of Messi. He breaks Telmo Zarra's La Liga grounds of 251 goals. Once again, Messi produces a hat-trick against Sevilla to propulsion up successful the all-time rankings. He presently has 444 goals and 10 league titles to his name.

    • Messi’s extremity successful the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals establishes him arsenic Argentina’s all-time starring goalscorer, with 54 goals. However, having mislaid the erstwhile year’s Copa America last to Chile, the 2016 variation finishes the aforesaid way. Messi announces his planetary retirement.

    • After a abbreviated run for Messi to reverse his determination to retire, which included pleas from Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri and a recently unveiled statue of Messi by Buenos Aires politician Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, the Barca prima chooses to proceed playing for La Albiceleste, saying: “My emotion for my state and this garment is excessively great.”

    • After a forgettable 2018 World Cup, Argentina finishes 3rd successful the pursuing year’s Copa America. However, Messi is sent disconnected successful the 37th infinitesimal of the third-place playoff. He blames his dismissal connected his erstwhile disapproval of the tournament’s pitches and refereeing. He refuses to judge his third-place medal, and receives a three-month prohibition from planetary shot arsenic good arsenic a $50,000 fine.

    • Messi’s nine statistic implicit his vocation tin lone beryllium challenged by 1 man, Cristiano Ronaldo. The brace practically stock the Ballon d’Or grant for a decennary but, successful 2019, Messi wins it for a grounds sixth time. Ronaldo is inactive connected five.

    • A tumultuous play for Messi reaches boiling constituent successful the Champions League quarterfinals against Bayern Munich. He’s portion of Barca squad embarrassingly beaten 8-2 successful what could beryllium his past crippled successful a Barcelona shirt.

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