Argentina superstar Lionel Messi is one of the best footballers in the world at the moment.
The Barcelona magician often compared to football legends like Pele and Maradona and it won’t be a surprise if he overtakes them in near future. Here are 6 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi.
Diagnosed With A Growth Hormone Deficiency
Messi’s amazing rise to become one of the all-time greats is against the odds, as when he was 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which stopped him from growing at a normal rate. His parents struggled to afford the payments for treatment, but after impressing in a trial for Barcelona, the team offered to pay for his treatment in Spain. Messi moved from Argentina to Spain with his father to join the youth academy. The treatment took three years, and although it did work, Messi remains one of the smaller players around the world at 5’6″.
Recruited by Barcelona after juggling with an orange
Leo Messi made many efforts to convince the leaders of Barcelona to offer him a chance. Legend says that oranges are at the origin of the love story between Barca and the Argentinean! Fabian Soldini, the player’s agent at the time, said:
“I went to see Lionel and I gave him a kilo of oranges and a few tennis balls.” I told him: “You train to juggle that and in a week and I will record you.”
“A week later, Leo mastered his subject. He juggled 113 times with an orange and 120 times with a tennis ball. I sent it all to Barcelona who told me to bring him in quickly.”
Messi dedicates his goals to his grandmother
When Lionel Messi scores a goal, the Argentinean points towards the sky but is not to thank God. He actually is thanking his deceased grandmother Celia. She was the one who drove her to Rosario training, she who convinced the coaches to play the little guy with the big boys. Alzheimer patient, she died when Leo was 10 years old. He still talks a lot and dedicates his goals by pointing his index to the sky.
“I miss her so much. I would have wanted her to see what I became. It is for this reason that I dedicate my goals to him because I like to tell myself that she sees me from where she is.”
Messi speaks Catalan only when he is drunk!
In 2000, the entire Messi family settled with Leo in Barcelona. But after a few months, to overcome homesickness, his mother, sister, and brother Matias return to Rosario. In 2008, Messi told La Capital, the Rosario newspaper:
“When my sister Maria Sol went to school, we spoke to her in Catalan, she suffered, she felt rejected. That’s why my mother decided to go back to Rosario with her so that she could continue her schooling there.”
Messi understands Catalan but hardly ever speaks it, he the banner of a club that claims the nationalism. Finally, one evening of celebration of a Barca title, he took the megaphone, went on top of the bus, and shouted:
“Visca el Barca, visca Catalunya y aguante Argentina, the concha de su madre!” Translation: “Long live Barca, long live Catalonia, and go Argentina, the whore of his mother!”
Messi had a scarf around his head. He was drunk.
Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer at 24
In 2012, a 24-year-old Messi became the all-time leading scorer for Barcelona in all club competitions. He achieved this astonishing feat in impressive fashion, as he bagged himself a hat-trick in a 5-3 win over Granada. When you consider the history and success of Barcelona, this makes you realize just how prolific and talented Messi really is. He achieved this in just under 8 seasons, where the previous record was held by Cesar Rodriguez who had scored 232 goals (this took him 13 seasons and the record stood for 57 years). Messi is now out of sight in terms of goals scored, and by the time he is finished, it seems unlikely that anyone will ever topple his grand total.
“Inmessionante”: The word that entered the dictionary
Lionel Messi had the right to become a common name. The Santillana dictionary has incorporated the adjective “inmessionante” whose definition is as follows:
“Adjective qualifier that refers to Lionel Messi, his perfect way of playing football, his unlimited ability to surpass himself. Describes the best footballer of all time.”
It is said that Messi deserves it. His way of dribbling, the ball sticking to the outside of his left foot, is unique. Guardiola believes he is the only footballer to “run faster with the ball than without”. Messi explains it like this:
“When I was a kid, I played on rotten wastelands, in the street, in my house. My driving of ball adapted to these conditions of play. With the outside, inevitably, because it is easier to hold the balloon … “