Who would have thought that a little boy with growth-hormone deficiency would grow up to have a record number of five Ballon d’Or trophies? But that’s exactly what happened – and that boy is now a man that is still playing for the team that took him in despite his medical issues – Barcelona.
Considered one of the best players on the globe, he is the captain of both Barca and the Argentinian National team. In spite of different teams expressing interest in having him on their side, Messi is dedicated to Barcelona, as they took him in when no one else could. Let us learn more about the man, the myth, the legend – here are a few things you should know about Leo.
Born into a working-class family in Rosario, Argentina, as the third of four children on June 24, 1987, Lionel Messi showed great interest and talent in football. His grandmother, with whom he was very close, and his father were the ones that showed him how to play football. He was in a club at the fragile age of four.
Unfortunately, when he turned 10, his world would crumble. In the same year he was diagnosed with a , a disease that is genetic and stunts growth, his grandmother died. In all likelihood, Leo would have been doomed to suffer the condition, as his father’s salary was not able to provide him with the human growth hormone used for treating it.
Barca to the Rescue
There was a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel – several clubs were interested in him. Newell Old Boys were his team ever since he was six, but they were unable to pay for his treatment. So was the team called River Plate from Buenos Aires. This wasn’t a pure lack of charity – Argentina’s economy was anything but stable at the time and the treatment cost around $1000 a month.
Leo was saved by Barca. In September 2000, Messi’s family arranged a trial for him. They put a lot of pressure on Charly Rexach, who was already very much eager to have Messi on his team. They saw what he could do and Barcelona took him in, which led to his family moving to Barcelona, though his mother and sister would eventually go back to Argentina.
Where Is He Now?
Messi is now still playing for Barcelona and the Argentinian national team. Apart from five Ballon d’Or awards, he also won six Copas del Rey, six European Golden Shoes, and too many honours and records to list. He continues to thrill his fans to this day and will always have a special place in our hearts.