Lionel Messi is unarguably the greatest player in the history of FC Barcelona. Messi has been the flag bearer of FC Barcelona for more than fifteen years. Even after leaving Barcelona two years ago for PSG, fans still visualize Barcelona by the name of Lionel Messi. Recently, a photo of Messi’s first day in Barcelona resurfaced on the Internet and it has sent the fans into a frenzy.
Photo of Lionel Messi on his first day in Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/wq1zh79wRi
— Frank Khalid OBE (@FrankKhalidUK) January 29, 2023
Lionel Messi will forever be etched in the pages of Barca‘s history. Ever since Messi’s first game for the senior side of Barcelona, he has gone on to break several records. Messi made his first team debut on November 16, 2003, against Jose Mourinho’s Porto in a friendly. Since then, Messi has become the club’s top scorer, top assists provider, has the most appearances for the club, and so on.
Messi has played a record 778 games for Barca, scoring a record 672 goals and providing a record 266 assists. No other player in Barca’s history even comes close to matching Messi’s numbers. As per FC Barcelona, Messi is also the most decorated player in Barca’s history, winning a massive 35 titles with the club. These include four UEFA Champions League titles, 10 La Liga titles, three FIFA Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, and so on.
When did Lionel Messi join Barcelona?
Lionel Messi joined Barcelona in 2000 when he was just 13 years old. However, Messi could have almost not joined Barcelona if things had played out in a different manner. Messi, at 13, was one of the most exciting talents in Argentine soccer. However, Messi suffered from a growth hormone deficiency which made him smaller and weaker in size than the rest of his peers.
🔵🔴Any wonder why Messi chose number 30 @PSG_English? Well there is personal history from his early days at @FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/MhZ8ByKU2g
— Futaa.com (@Futaacom) August 16, 2021
To accommodate the cost of the expensive treatment, Messi’s family sought out different soccer clubs in Argentina that were willing to pay for Messi’s treatment. However, none of those clubs were willing to open their checkbooks to sign the 13-year-old Messi. This prompted Messi’s family to seek out a trial in Barcelona. Even then, the current PSG player faced several bumps in the road.
📜 | HISTORY | This picture here is of a 13 Year Old Lionel Messi’s first professional contract on a paper napkin. Carles Rexach, Barcelona’s manager, didn’t have any paper nearby, but his urgency to sign Messi made him write the contract on a napkin lying around him. pic.twitter.com/uyz9GoNAUa
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) January 11, 2019
During those times, it was highly unusual for European clubs to sign such a young soccer talent. In addition to that, the club had to incur the expense of Messi’s treatment. However, the then sporting director of Barca, Charly Rexach, recognized Messi’s talent and managed to convince the other Barca directors to sign the young player from Argentina. This incident led to the signing of the famous ‘napkin contract’ by Lionel Messi.
Since then, after joining the Spanish club, Messi made a rapid rise through the ranks and soon found himself to be an integral part of the Barca team. After Ronaldinho left the club in 2008, and with the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the same year, Messi evolved into the role of the protagonist of the club.
He adorned the legendary number 10 shirt of the club. This was followed by an era of unprecedented success at Barca, with Lionel Messi at the helm of the club.