Lionel Messi Best Photos
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Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾes ˈmesi], born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward for La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He serves as the captain of his country's national football team. Messi is Barcelona's all-time top scorer in all official club competitions excluding friendlies. By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year in 2009 he won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year, and the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 and 2011. He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
Frequently rated by commentators, experts and former players as the best player in the world, Messi is the fourth football player to win three Ballons d'Or and the second player to win three consecutive Ballons d'Or. Messi has won five La Ligas, two Copas del Rey, five Supercopas de España, three Champions Leagues, two Super Cups and two Club World Cups. In 2012, Messi made UEFA Champions League history by becoming the first player to score five goals in one match. He also matched José Altafini's record of 14 goals in a single Champions League season. He also became the first player to top-score in four successive Champions League campaigns. He set the world record for most goals scored in a season during the 2011–12 season, with 73 goals. In the same season, he set the current goalscoring record in a single La Liga season, scoring 50 goals. He also holds the record for most goals scored in a calender year, with 88 goals in 2012, breaking Gerd Müller's 40-year-old record.
Messi was the top scorer of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with six goals. In 2006, he became the youngest Argentine to play in the FIFA World Cup and he won a runners-up medal at the Copa América tournament the following year, in which he was elected young player of the tournament. In 2008, he won his first international honour, an Olympic gold medal, with the Argentina Olympic football team. Sportspro has rated Lionel Messi as the third most marketable athlete in the world. His playing style and stature have drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor."
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