Kicking Off a Legacy: When Did Messi Start Playing Soccer?

Simon Hagerlund

Kicking Off a Legacy: When Did Messi Start Playing Soccer?

When did Messi start playing soccer? This query often leads to the humble origins of Lionel Andrés Messi, whose journey in the sport began in the streets of Rosario, Argentina. Born on June 24, 1987, Messi’s affinity for the game was evident from a tender age. It was in these modest beginnings that the foundation for a future icon was laid.

Messi’s childhood revolved around football; his passion was as clear as daylight, his potential, immense. At just four years old, Messi joined a local club coached by his father, where he honed his skills alongside boys much older. His talent was undeniable, and by the age of eight, he was playing for Newell’s Old Boys, a prominent youth team in Rosario.

The turning point came when Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at age 10. The treatment was costly, and no club in Argentina could cover the expenses. However, his potential was so striking that FC Barcelona offered to pay for his medical treatments if he moved to Spain. At age 13, Messi and his family relocated to Barcelona, setting the stage for a legendary career.

Rising Through the Ranks: Messi’s Youth Career

The transition to life in Barcelona was challenging for young Messi, but his determination never wavered. He progressed through the ranks of FC Barcelona’s youth academy, known as La Masia, with astonishing speed. Despite being quieter and smaller than his peers, his feet spoke volumes on the pitch.

His first unofficial appearance for the senior team came at just 16 years old, in a friendly match. It was clear to everyone watching that Messi was not an ordinary player. His vision, his control, his uncanny ability to find the net—it all pointed to a star in the making.

Breaking Records and Setting Milestones

At 17, Messi made his competitive debut in La Liga, and not long after, he became the youngest player to score a league goal for the club. This was merely a glimpse of what was to come. His agility and precision on the ball, coupled with his unique style of play, made him a standout figure in a team brimming with talent.

The 2008–09 season was a defining period for Messi. He was instrumental in Barcelona’s conquest of the treble—La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. Scoring 38 goals in 51 matches, he was a force of nature, unstoppable and relentless. His performances earned him the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s world player of the year awards, the first of many.

Messi’s appetite for success and his knack for breaking records didn’t stop there. The 2011–12 season saw him score an astonishing 73 goals, a record that shattered previous benchmarks and left the world in awe. His fourth world player of the year award was a testament to his extraordinary abilities.

A New Chapter: Messi’s Move to Paris St.-Germain

After two decades of magic with Barcelona, Messi’s time at the club came to an unexpected end in 2021. Contractual and financial complications led to his departure, and a new adventure began with Paris St.-Germain. This move sent ripples through the sport, as fans anticipated what the maestro would bring to the French giants.

At PSG, Messi continued to exhibit his brilliance, contributing to the team’s success and helping to secure the Ligue 1 title. His presence elevated the club’s status and added a new dimension to their gameplay, as he seamlessly integrated with other world-class talents.

Messi’s Legacy Beyond Club Football

Messi’s contributions to the Argentine national team are as significant as his club achievements. His leadership and skill have been pivotal in Argentina’s international campaigns. The victories in the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup, where he was awarded the Golden Ball, are crowning moments of his international career.

Messi’s influence stretches far beyond the pitch. His endorsements, particularly with Adidas, speak to his marketability and global appeal. Despite facing legal challenges, including tax fraud allegations, Messi’s impact on football culture remains untarnished.

Lionel Messi’s narrative is not merely about personal accolades or records; it’s about a boy from Rosario who became a global symbol of excellence in football. His legacy is etched not only in the record books but in the hearts of fans who have witnessed his artistry. His story is a reminder that greatness often has humble beginnings, and with dedication and talent, the heights of success are limitless.


In answering “When did Messi start playing soccer?” we’ve traced the arc of a prodigy who became a legend. Lionel Messi’s journey from Rosario’s dusty fields to the pinnacle of world football is a chronicle of dedication, resilience, and sheer brilliance. His legacy is far from over, but the chapters written thus far are a testament to his enduring impact on the beautiful game.

Questions and Answers about Lionel Messi’s Football Career

In this FAQ section, we delve into the journey of Lionel Messi, one of football’s most iconic figures. From his early beginnings in Argentina to his current status as a global football superstar, we explore the key moments and milestones of Messi’s illustrious career.

When did Messi start playing soccer?

Lionel Messi started playing football as a young boy in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina. His exceptional talent quickly caught the attention of prestigious clubs, leading him to join FC Barcelona’s under-14 team at the age of 13.

When did Messi make his debut with FC Barcelona?

Messi made his informal debut with FC Barcelona at the age of 16 in a friendly match. He officially became the youngest player in the Spanish La Liga during the 2004–05 season when he was 17 years old.

What are some of Messi’s notable achievements with FC Barcelona?

Messi’s tenure with FC Barcelona was marked by numerous achievements. In the 2009 season, he helped secure their first “treble,” winning the La Liga championship, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League title. He also set a new record in the 2011–12 season by scoring 73 goals in all competitions.

Where did Messi go after leaving FC Barcelona?

In 2021, Messi signed with Paris St.-Germain (PSG) after becoming a free agent due to financial constraints and contractual issues with Barcelona. With PSG, he continued to add to his list of accomplishments, including securing the Ligue 1 title.

What contributions has Messi made to the Argentine national team?

Messi has represented Argentina in various international tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup and the Copa América. His performances in these competitions have been impactful, leading Argentina to victory in the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup, earning him the prestigious Golden Ball award.

Källa: Britannica

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