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15 Facts About Lionel Messi!

Here's a handful of amazing Lionel Messi facts about gold feet, napkins and huge Japanese robots!

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Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  November 6th 2023

He has won more the Ballon d'Or more times than anyone else!

To date, Lionel Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d'Or eight times. Cristiano Ronaldo has been awarded the honour five times, while Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, and Marco van Basten have each won it three times.

He's the most expensive signing in MLS history!

After two seasons at Paris St. Germanin, Messi joined the Florida club for $54 million – that's £46.7 million! He joined in the summer of 2023 and signed a two-year contract for the team!

Lionel Messi in his Inter Miami shirt
intermiamicf.com

He won a lot of trophies with Barcelona!

Messi has won over 40 trophies during his career so far – including a World Cup winner's medal in 2022. 35 of those trophies came during his 17-year spell at Barcelona, including 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa Del Rey trophies, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 4 Champions Leagues, 3 European Super Cups, and 3 World Club Championships! Phew!

A sports trophy

He almost signed for Arsenal!

While he was a Barcelona, it's said that he was interested in a potential move to the Emirates in 2014. Unluckily for the Gunners, he decided to stay in Spain and continue winning lots of trophies.

Arsenal club badge
Arsenal FC

He was a record-breaker from the beginning of his career!

During Messi's first full season at Barcelona, he was the team's top scorer, hitting the net 36 times in just 30 games.

A football in the back of a goal net

Messi scored twice in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final!

The Argentina captain added 2 more goals to his international tally in a tense final against France on 18 December 2022. After drawing 3-3 – during which he score a penalty in the 23rd minute – the game went to a penalty shoot-out at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Messi stepped up to take the first penalty and scored. Argentina won 4-3 and won their third World Cup trophy!

Messi is Barcelona's all-time top goal scorer!

During his 17-year run at the club, he hit the back of the net 672 times in all competitions.

A goal hitting the back of the net

He was sent off on his international debut!

Messi's international debut for Argentina was very brief. After being brought on as a substitute against Hungary in 2010, he was sent off following a challenge by Vilmos Vanczak one minute later. His team went on to win 2-1.

He's related to Bojan Krkic!

The striker is Messi's fourth cousin and they played together at Barcelona! He played for Roma, Milan, Ajax, Stoke City, Montreal Impact and Vissel Kobe, before announcing his retirement in early 2023.

intermiamicf.com | vissel-kobe.co.jp

He captained Argentina in the 2010 FIFA World Cup!

He wore the armband in a game against Greece, just two days before his 23rd birthday! The team won 2-0 but were later knocked out in the quarter-finals by Germany.

A football player with a captain's armband on

He had a cast of his foot made out of solid gold!

To honour Messi's football success, jeweller Ginza Tanaka created a golden cast of the legend's left foot and is worth 3.5 million pounds! It was auctioned and raised money for Messi's charity foundation and children affected by the natural disasters which hit Japan in 2011. 

fcbarcelona.com

Messi's first contract was written on a napkin!

When he was 12-years-old, Messi played in a trial for Barcelona. Carles Rexach, who worked for the team, thought he was going to be a star and got him to sign a contract on a paper napkin to ensure he'd be part of the team. It's now in a frame, which belongs to football agent Horacio Gaggioli. What a piece of sports history!

He's a really nice guy!

A young boy called Murtaza Ahmadi in Afghanistan made a Messi shirt out of a plastic bag. When the footballer saw a photo of the six-year-old fan, he sent him two signed shirts and a football.The story doesn't end there. When Barcelona traveled to Qatar to play a friendly against Al Ahli, the boy met his hero and walked out onto the pitch with the captain!

skysports.com

He once took on a robotic goalkeeper – and lost!

The Barcelona and Argentinian star faced his biggest challenge on a Japanese TV show in 2013. Messi took three penalties against a robotic goalkeeper and failed to score on his first two attempts!

@InMessionante | YouTube

He's played football against sharks

OK, this one probably isn't real. But we're sure he could if he wanted to.