Lionel Messi

5 Interesting Facts about Lionel Messi that you may not know

Lionel Messi has been one of, if not the greatest footballer to ever step on a football pitch. Since making his debut in 2005, he has entertained crowds the world over with his incredible performances.

A goal scorer and playmaker enmeshed into one unplayable attacker, Messi has made 894 club appearances, scoring an eye-watering 726 goals and providing 346 assists as well. He has won three UEFA Champions League titles with Barcelona and is also a World Cup winner with Argentina, among several other honours.

However, there are some things about Lionel Messi on and off the pitch that some may not know. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what they are.

5. The secret behind Lionel Messi’s celebration

Since he scores so many goals, one can often see Messi breaking into celebration in nearly every game he plays in. After netting, the Argentine usually raises both arms and points to the sky, mumbling a few words to himself in the process.

This, in fact, is Messi’s heart-warming tribute to his grandmother Celia, whom he credits for his introduction to a life in football. She played an integral role in his involvement with the sport in his early days, but sadly passed away in 1998 and could not see him turn pro.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi’s iconic celebration. (Getty Images)

4. Idolized a fellow Argentina icon growing up

While growing up, Messi had a plethora of great Argentine players to admire, with Diego Maradona at the forefront. However, his choice was former Valencia and Benfica playmaker Pablo Aimar.

Aimar was a creative midfielder who was predominantly right-footed and enjoyed venturing forward. This way, he could utilize his best assets of passing, dribbling and shooting. He made 508 appearances for his clubs, scoring 74 goals and providing 113 assists. He also made 52 appearances for Argentina, scoring eight goals and providing seven assists.

3. Mind-blowing relation to former Barca teammate

Lionel Messi and former Barcelona teammate Bojan Krkic are shockingly related. By the family tree, the two footballers are fourth-cousins to each other. Their great-great-great grandparents Mariano Perez Miralles and Teresa Llobera Minguet married in 1846 in Catalonia, giving birth to Ramon Perez and Goncal Perez.

Ramon’s son Jose Perez Sole moved to Argentina, while Goncal’s son Jaume Perez Civit stayed on in Catalonia. Sole’s great-grandson is Lionel Messi, while Civit’s grandson is Bojan!

Messi and Bojan in 2010. (Getty Images)

2. Argentina’s top scorer at World Cups

Messi led from the front as Argentina completed a heroic run to lift the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He scored seven goals and also provided three assists for his teammates as he won the Golden Ball.

Those goals took his tally at World Cups to 13, surpassing the previous record-holder Gabriel Batistuta, who scored 12 in his time.

1. Refusal to join Arsenal while at La Masia

Messi was signed by Barcelona’s academy as a teenager in his early years and was hailed as a big prospect within the club. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had spotted the player’s talents, having already signed Cesc Fabregas earlier.

However, Messi’s pathway to the first team was pretty clear with Ronaldinho fading away. The club were determined to keep him and ended up becoming one of the all-time greats.

ALSO READ: Why is Lionel Messi not playing for Argentina in International Friendlies?

Next matches