Don’t Mess With Messi: 40 Fascinating Facts About Lionel Messi

By Ridwan S

Football (soccer) is one of the oldest sports in human history, with some estimates dating it as far back as 2000 years ago. Several cultures claim to have originated the sport, including China, Central America, Greece, and Rome, though the game as we know it today wasn’t established until the mid-1800s. Whether you’re counting it as 200 or 2000 years old, there are some players that will forever remain in the history of football. One of the biggest names is Lionel “Leo” Andrés Messi, an equally talented and fascinating individual. Messi has set goals, scoring records, and won individual trophies, all on his way to becoming one of the world’s top football players. It’s impossible to capture the brilliance that is Messi with words alone, but these 40 facts are worth reading about. Scroll on to learn more about the famous footballer.

Massive Results

Pundits and fans don’t call Messi the “world’s best” for nothing. Leo is said to have scored over 750 senior goals for club and country. Messi holds the most goals scored by a single player for a single club with that total.

Image courtesy: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

You’ll agree that this is a major feat. Messi has earned the respect and admiration he presently enjoys. His approximate 474 goals is a record for La Liga. He has a club-record 35 trophies to his name, including 10 La Liga crowns.

Goodbyes are the Hardest

The Rosario-born player is arguably the most famous footballer to have worn the Blaugrana colors. Lionel Messi has spent 16 seasons with Barcelona, beginning in the 2005/06 season. He played for Barcelona for 21 years, including his stint in the club’s academy. He then bid the club farewell for the 2020/21 season.

Image courtesy: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

Barcelona was equally sad to see him go. Fun fact, there was a deal that stated that if they terminated his contract, he would be owed $300 million! However, it seems like that was never a possibility, given Messi’s outstanding career.

Time Alone

Whether you’re a novice or expert, professional or recreational, losing stinks, and not everyone can handle the disappointment of defeat. Even Messi confesses that he isn’t very adept at it. He claims that he craves time alone whenever his team loses a game.

Image courtesy: Kivnl / Shutterstock

Messi claims to shut down and avoids talking to anyone in such instances. We wouldn’t blame the all-time winner for sulking over defeat; anyone would. When you’re used to winning, losing might be gloomy, even though you understand that it’s all a part of life.

He Loves the Kids

The Leo Messi Foundation was established in 2007. It’s a non-profit organization that promotes acts of solidarity and social responsibility. It was formed on the principle that all children deserve equal opportunity to achieve their goals. The organization’s objective is to help children and teenagers living in high-risk situations.

Image courtesy:

They also strive to improve children’s quality of life and contribute to developing a more egalitarian society. The Foundation cares for kids born with disabilities and enables them to receive necessary medical care if their families are incapacitated. As expected, the Foundation believes in sport as a vehicle for inclusion and social integration.

“Feels like Messi”

Lionel Messi, as expected, continues to have sponsorship arrangements. Organizations all over the world are understandably interested in using his image to promote their products. These deals aren’t just limited to Latin America or the UK. In 2013, Messi appeared in a Japanese advertisement for Angfa Scalp-D wash.

Image courtesy: JPCMHD /

The brand put his face on the product — literally — which will undoubtedly entice the majority of his fans to buy it. In the advert, they used the tagline “Feels like Messi.” Such an excellent approach to persuade buyers to trust the product. Who wouldn’t want to feel like Messi?

Tattoos and Memories

Following the birth of his first son, Thiago, Messi tattooed his baby’s handprint on the back of his left leg. Not only that, but he placed Thaigo’s name in a heart shape to ensure no one misunderstands what the tattoo represents. What a lovely way to commemorate your child’s birth.

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

He also has a tattoo of his second son, Mateo, sitting vertically to the left of his Jesus portrait tattoo. Messi has multiple tattoos on his body, all of which hold significance. No matter what jersey he’s wearing, Messi is always wearing symbols of the people and things he loves.

Catch Them Young

Thiago signed a contract with the Newell’s Old Boys shortly after his birth, and he became a member of the club when he was less than a week old. Of course, this was all done in good fun. No one was looking to make the infant a football star.

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

The move got the club all over the news across the world. This was supposedly their way of honoring where Messi got his start, but we can’t help but wonder if the publicity was their objective all along. Either way, we admire manager Gerardo Martino and Chairman Guillermo Llorente’s inventiveness.

A Perceptible Passion

Messi’s love for the game is palpable when he displays his talent on the football field. The way he stares at the ball before scoring a difficult goal shows that he will put every ounce of energy remaining in him into that kick. It demonstrates zeal, tenacity, and dedication.

Image courtesy: Listen2coachb / Instagram

The intensity is nearly palpable through the screen. But what inspired such passion? Messi has said that he gains so much pleasure that he feels like a kid playing on the streets. According to him, the day he no longer feels as excited about the game is the day he will contemplate retirement.

How Does Messi Relax?

Messi has a world of fortune all to himself, and he knows how to spend it. He spends all of his leisure time bonding with his family. We believe that family is key to happiness in life, and we are delighted that Messi is spending quality time with his loved ones.

Image courtesy: antoroccuzzo88 / Instagram

He spends the majority of his leisure time playing video games with his family and friends. Of course, he deserves some relaxation, so he sleeps and rejuvenates during this time as well. Messi also spends time taking his family on exotic trips; you may recall seeing some of his yacht photos.

Playfully Stacking the Cash

Everyone’s dream is to become wealthy while doing what they enjoy the most. Sadly, not everyone is able to realize this dream. However, Messi is living the life! He’s earning money doing what he loves. Consider getting paid to do something you would ordinarily do for fun.

Image courtesy: Epic Cure / Shutterstock

Forbes estimates Messi’s net worth to be at $80 million. Even though he might be one of the highest-paid football players, Lionel says he’s motivated by his passion for football rather than money. He maintains that he would still play even if he wasn’t paid.


Lionel Messi has won numerous awards since beginning his career. He has won the Ballon d’Or seven times — between 2009 and 2021. In 2019, he received the FIFA Best Award as well as the Laureus World Sports Awards. He won the Golden Boy Award in 2005.

Image courtesy: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

He was awarded the Onze d’Or four times — between 2009 and 2013. Messi was the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year. He received the World Cup Golden Ball Award in 2014. Messi received the Copa America MVP medal in 2021.

Golden Representation

Messi, as previously stated, is a multi-award winner — for himself, the clubs, and the countries he’s played for. Leo won the Champions League four times and the LaLiga ten times with FC Barcelona. Lionel also won the Copa del Rey seven times and the Club World Cup three times.

Image courtesy: Martin Dworschak / Shutterstock

Messi won the U-20 World Cup for Argentina in 2005. In the 2008 Olymptic Games, Argentina took home the Gold Medal. In 2014, he was a FIFA World Cup Finalist. Argentina won the Copa America in 2021 and the Finalissima in 2022. You can understand why he is known as a numerous award-winning player.

The Messi Pose

Messi has a symbolic celebratory gesture he gives after every goal scored. This is understandably unusual for someone with a long track record of winnings. Messi’s fans are well-versed in the “fingers in the sky” pose. The footballer’s signature move is his way of thanking God for the successful goal.

Image courtesy: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

He also does this to honor his grandma, who was instrumental in his football journey. Celia Olivera Cucittini, who died in 1998, was the one who inspired Messi to play. She took him to games, and therefore played was significant in influencing the destiny of perhaps the greatest footballer ever.

Sign Here, Please

When the director of FC Barcelona first saw Messi play in 2000, it was love at first sight. He was scouting for young stars at the time, so when he spotted Messi, he was taken aback. He realized right then that he couldn’t let the talent fall into the hands of anyone else.

Image courtesy:

Fun fact, Messi signed his first contact on a napkin. The director was so determined to sign on Messi and did not have anything else to write on at the time. Given Messi’s progress, it’s easy to see why the director couldn’t let him go back then.

How Tall is Messi?

As a kid, Messi was diagnosed with GHD, or growth hormone imbalance, a disorder that doesn’t just affect growth, but development, too. His family initially paid for the treatment, which cost $900 a month, but when he signed with Barcelona, they took on that financial burden.

Image courtesy: Imagestockdesign / Shutterstock

He continued to receive treatment for another year, until age 14, which is likely when the injections would no longer be beneficial. But the treatment was enough to help him reach an average height. The biggest question here is: would Messi have rocked it as a shorter-than-average player? Or would we be Messi-less?

Messi’s Family History

Messi was born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, as the third of four children. His father’s side has Italian and Spanish ancestry, and his mother’s side is primarily Italian. He is the great-grandson of immigrants from the north-western Adriatic Marche region of Italy and Catalonia.

Image courtesy: cristiano barni / Shutterstock

Lionel isn’t the first Messi to show a love of football. He grew up playing the sport with his two older brothers, as well as his cousins, two of which — Emanuel and Maximiliano Biancucchi— went on to be famous footballers themselves.

The Birth of the Legend

On June 24, 1987, steel worker Jorge Messi and his wife Celia Cuccittini, a cleaner, welcomed Messi into the world. Messi used to tag along with his older siblings as they played football with their pals. He began playing at a young age, and his talent was quickly recognized.

Image courtesy: A.PAES / Shutterstock

At only eight years old, he was selected to join the development system of the Rosario-based club, Newell’s Old Boys. When he was 13, Messi’s family moved to Barcelona, where he played for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team. His tremendous goal-scoring record and dribbling ability have earned him the Diego Maradona successor’s title.

Evidently in Love

Messi does not shy away from showing that he is so in love with Antonela Rocuzzo. The pair have matching crown tattoos on their right arms. Love is not something that you can hide, and Messi isn’t even trying to hide his love for Antonela.

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

If you have ever seen the lip tattoo on Messi’s bottom-left hip, you might have wondered whose it is. Well, it is for Antonela, of course! We all hope to find someone that loves us as much as Lionel loves his wife.

Loyal Argentinian

Messi currently plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and captains Argentina’s national squad. Despite playing for a Spanish club, Messi remains devoted to Argentina, his national team, and his birthplace. Messi has been quoted on multiple occasions as saying that he is an Argentine patriot.

Image courtesy: Asatur Yesayants / Shutterstock

Argentina is proud of him and recognizes his greatness. Their only complaint is that he grows tired of serving the country because he plays his heart out for Barcelona all year. They appear to be jealous of Messi’s success with Barcelona, believing that he should achieve similar results with Argentina. Argentines celebrate every Messi goal, whether for Argentina or Barcelona.

Save the Children!

Lionel Messi has given UNICEF more than 5 million Argentina pesos ($40,000) to aid children in need. The funds were given to a program called “A Sun for the Children.” It aims to provide equipment and home conditioning for employees of a local hospital. That is not the only thing Messi has done for youngsters.

Image courtesy: Instrumenta / Shutterstock

The star has contributed to a massive £26.4m appeal to help tackle the illness in Spain. Messi has donated the funds to the SJD Pediatric Cancer Center through his Leo Messi Foundation. In fact, he personally attended the project’s beginning, standing there as they laid the first stone at the city’s Hospital Sant Joan de Deu.

More Donations

Lionel Messi has won numerous gold medals, including two Golden Boots. The foot of the prolific goal-scorer has now been cast in solid gold. Ginza Tanaka, a Japanese jeweler, did the task in 2012. Tanaka developed the golden foot to commemorate Messi’s fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or title.

Image courtesy:

To raise funds for the victims of the 2013 earthquake and tsunami, Messi donated the golden foot, which sold for around $5.2 million. It’s a perfect replica of Messi’s left foot. Whoever has that prize has the best motivational statue one could ask for!

Adidas Ambassador

Messi has partnered with the German sportswear company Adidas since 2006 and has subsequently become the brand’s face. In 2017, he extended his contract with the company, which produces Messi-branded soccer cleats. He agreed to a lifetime contract of $25 million yearly!

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

Messi’s move to Adidas brought him incredible good fortune. Since their collaboration, Messi has been one of the brand’s most profitable relationships. Messi is shown wearing Adidas’ new adizero f50 boot in a stunning advertisement that is guaranteed to pique interest.

Love Birds

Antonela and Messi’s love story is one that deserves to be made into a blockbuster romance film. Their story demonstrates that love does exist. The two met and fell in love when they were quite young, both living in their hometown of Rosario, Argentina.

Image courtesy: A.RICARDO / Shutterstock

Antonela relocated to Messi’s house in Castelldefels, Barcelona, in 2012, and gave birth to Thiago that same year. In fact, two of their three children were born before they finally exchanged vows. Antonela is, without a doubt, Lionel’s biggest supporter and fangirl.

Forever is the Deal

Leo was only five years old when he met Antonela — his best friend’s (Lucas Scaglia) cousin. In 2017, they got married in a ceremony dubbed as the “wedding of the century.” It was a civil ceremony held at a premium hotel in Rosario, Argentina.

Image courtesy: antonelaroccuzzo / Instagram

There were 260 people in attendance, including football players and celebrities. Messi’s Barcelona colleagues Luis Suárez, Neymar, Gerard Piqué, and his wife, Colombian pop diva Shakira — just to name a few. Several of them arrived in Rosario aboard private jets.


If you thought that Lionel Messi is only good (okay, excellent) at football, you’re wrong. The athlete is a talented musician, too. He performed an impromptu piano performance of the UEFA Champions League anthem, demonstrating his musical prowess to the whole world…

Image courtesy: Tehranmelody / Instagram

…or not. Adidas shared a video of Messi playing the Champions League theme on the piano. He seems at ease while playing, but it’s indeed too good to be true. The talent was merely a result of some fancy editing.

Unique Reader

As we mentioned before, Messi loves football so much that he claims he’d play without the big salary. But Lionel is more than just the sport he plays. For example, his favorite novel is the Argentine classic El Martin Fierro by Jorge Luis Borges.

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

Knowing that Messi is from Argentina, you might guess why this is his favorite book. The titular character is an improvised Gaucho named Martin Fierro. He was enlisted to serve at a border fort, defending Argentina’s inner border against the indigenous people.

Old Favorites

So, we know his favorite book, but what about films? The 1994 American adventure comedy film Baby’s Day Out has the honor of being Messi’s favorite movie. It was written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Patrick Read Johnson.

Image courtesy:

The plot revolves around the kidnapping of an affluent baby by three crooks, as well as his subsequent escape and adventure. The thrills and adventure will make your heart race. Anyone who has seen the film will recognize why it’s Messi’s favorite.

Music is Life

Leo might not be a musician, but he does have a musical idol. Sergio Torres impresses Lionel as much as the footballer’s fans are stunned by him on the field. The two actually met in person in 2006, and they maintain a friendship to this day.

Image courtesy: Violinstandviolin / Instagram

Torres even wrote a song for Messi called “The Eighth Wonder.” We can’t even imagine what it feels like to be friends with your idol! While we’re super jealous of Torres, we’re happy that both of them have formed a real friendship.


Leo and his father Jorge were convicted of defrauding Spain of €4.1 million between 2007 and 2009. The pair had been found guilty of concealing earnings from image rights by exploiting tax havens in Belize and Uruguay. The Spanish courts have charged the football star’s 21-month prison term for tax fraud with a fine.

Image courtesy: MR.Yanukit / Shutterstock

His father’s 15-month imprisonment was commuted to a fine of €180,000. In addition to the suspended jail terms, the Argentina international was fined €2 million, while his father was fined €1.5 million. They also made a €5 million “corrective payment” to cover the alleged unpaid tax plus interest.

You go, Champ!

Messi set a record in 2012 by scoring five goals in a single Championship League match. These goals are more than any player has ever scored in a single match. Messi was dominant in 2012, scoring many goals and confusing hapless defenses for fun. A flip of his left boot sends crowds into ecstasy.

Image courtesy: Francesc Juan / Shutterstock

His unparalleled scoring form at the highest level of the modern game brought the entire globe to a halt. In 2012, the phenomenon that is Lionel Messi reached new heights. With so many accomplishments that year, fans call 2012 “his year.”

Food is Life

Messi enjoys celebrating his victories with his favorite meal. If you like Italian food, you may have already had the dish. Messi enjoys the traditional Italian dish escalope Milanese. Although any meat can be prepared “Milanese Style,” including chicken, beef, and hog, the classic meal is done using veal ribs.

Image courtesy: C Teubner / Shutterstock

The dinner is one of the most well-known dishes in traditional Italian cuisine. One of the many benefits of a crispy, delicate veal Milanese is its simplicity. If you enjoy escalope Milanese, don’t you think it would be a dream come true to have it with your idol, Messi? Continue to daydream and pray.


We are not done talking about the things that the football star enjoys the most. Can you guess what color the football god favors? Do you think it’s from his country’s flag? Or perhaps just something he finds visually appealing?

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

His favorite color is…drum roll…red! Unlike most of the other trivia tidbits on this list, we couldn’t find a lot of information to share with you about why it’s his favorite. Sorry, but we’ll just have to save that mystery for another day.

Dual Citizenship

As we’ve mentioned several times, Messi is an Argentine native who began playing for Barcelona at a young age. FC Barcelona is a Spanish professional football club. Leo and his family relocated from their hometown to Spain after being lured by the club.

Image courtesy: Celso Pupo / Shutterstock

Messi never forgot his hometown, Argentina even though he no longer lives there. He is a member of Argentina’s national team and he definitely plays well for the nation. Having stayed in Spain for years, it is only natural that he be granted citizenship. In 2005, the Argentina striker was awarded Spanish citizenship.

La Pulga

Lionel Messi is known by several distinct nicknames, including “The GOAT,” “Magician,” and others. Another name you might have heard is “La Pulga,” which means “the flea” in Spanish. Due to GHD, Messi was shorter than other kids on the pitch.

Image courtesy: A.RICARDOA / Shutterstock

Although he is no longer short among his peers, the childhood nickname still lingers. Some Spanish media house refer to the former Barcelona star as “La Pulga Atomic.” Which means “the atomic flea” because of his blazing pace and dribbling ability against defenders.

A Rare Opportunity

Messi has always been a source of energy and talent. Nothing could keep him from displaying his football skills on the field. His remarkable performance on the field earned him a place in the FC Barcelona junior system. He got signed into the academy and the contract also included a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Image courtesy: Matheus Obst / Shutterstock

We’ve already mentioned that the academy promised to pay the young footballer’s hormone treatment fees. It was a win-win for both Messi and the team. The promising player wouldn’t have reached his full potential without the GHD treatments. We’re so glad they saw his potential!

Newell’s Old Boys

The Newell’s Old Boys, a Rosario-based team, was Messi’s first soccer team. As a young boy seeking to showcase his skills, Leo joined the squad when he was six years old. Messi had been looking forward to the day he would join the team for a long time.

Image courtesy: CANOBoficial/Twitter

He had even attended Diego Maradona’s Nuls debut in October 1993 at the club’s stadium, and he scored four goals on his debut for Newell’s. With that, he set a tone and became the totem for arguably Argentina’s most famous underage team, “La Maquina del 87.”

Early career starter

Messi began playing football as a child and joined Newell’s Old Boys’ youth team in 1995. His extraordinary abilities drew the attention of major clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. Messi and his family relocated to Barcelona when he was 13, and he began playing for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team.

Image courtesy: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

He then progressed through the higher-level teams until he was 16 years old. In a friendly match, he made his official debut for FC Barcelona. At 17, he was signed as an official FC Barcelona team member. In 2005, he became the team’s youngest member and the youngest player to score a professional goal.

Brothers Make the Best Buddies

Lionel Messi is the third of four children. He has two older brothers, Rodrigo and Matias, and a younger sister, Maria Sol. Argentina’s star player comes from a close-knit, football-crazed family. It’s no wonder why he developed a love of the sport.

Image courtesy: Leo messi / Facebook

As a kid, he frequently played with his older brothers. But now, the elder Messi siblings can be spotted in the crowd, cheering on their brother. There must be some family pride there, given Rodrigo and Matias are the ones that taught Lionel how to play!

Señor Hulk

It is no longer news that man’s best friend is a dog. Therefore, we weren’t surprised to learn that the football legend has a canine companion. We can hardly imagine how lucky Señor Hulk must feel to be associated with the football legend.

Image courtesy: Leomessi / Instagram

There is no shortage of images and videos of Leo and his loveable dog. Messi’s dog is a Dogue de Bordeaux breed. The breed is distinguished by its size and strength. Messi received Señor Hulk as a puppy as a present from Antonela Roccuzzo.

Best Player

What better way to conclude an article on interesting facts about Messi than to discuss his accomplishments? On numerous occasions, he has been referred to as the “best soccer player in the world.” Knowing all of his accomplishments, you will agree with this title. Messi has won the Best FIFA Men’s Player award twice.

Image courtesy: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

He has won the Ballon d’Or seven times, the UEFA Best Player in Europe three times, and top soccer 22 times. Messi has been named Laliga player of the year nine times and UEFA Champions League player of the year once. He was COPA America’s winner for 2020/21 among many other awards. La Pulga is great.

Making History

No one can ever say that Messi is anything less than a stellar player. His name is known worldwide and is practically synonymous with talent. What’s shocking, though, is that he played professionally for almost twenty years before taking home a FIFA World Cup trophy.

Image courtesy: leomessi / Instagram

The 2022 FIFA World Cup final was exhausting for the players, but the fans were feeling it, too. All around the world, people were cheering Messi’s name as he celebrated with his teammates and kissed the World Cup trophy that they earned.