10 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Lionel Messi

By Raza Mehdi

Dec 16, 2022

Messi shares a lot of interesting attributes with the revolutionary leader Che Guevara. Besides being admired all over the globe, they both originate from the Argentine city of Rosario and both were born in June!

The Che Guevara of Football

During his tender years, he had a growth hormone deficiency which required expensive medication that was taken care of by the Argentinian social security, contrary to popular beliefs that Barcelona paid for this treatment when he was signed in 2001.

The growth hormone deficiency

Messi was just 13 when he joined Barcelona and, like any other teenager, had a sweet spot for soft drinks. His craze for aerated drinks led to removing all the soda machines in Barcelona's youth academy to prevent him from spoiling his health.

Love for soft drinks

When Barcelona's technical secretary Carles Rexach was so enthralled by the then 13-year-old Messi’s talents, he decided to settle an agreement on a paper napkin instantaneously due to the non-availability of a contract at the time.

Paper napkin that sealed the deal

Messi made his international debut in Argentina’s match against Hungary on 17th August 2005 at age 18, when he came on as a 63rd-minute substitute. However, he lasted only 43 seconds as he received a red card and was sent back before the world caught a glimpse of him!

An unlucky start for the divine one

Messi’s grandma was the best influence on his life. She would regularly accompany him to matches and instructional courses as a kid. Her death shortly before his eleventh birthday greatly affected him. So as a tribute to his grandmother, he celebrates his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky.

Messi's iconic goal celebration

Messi can always be seen on the left corner of any team picture, standing alongside his compatriots. By standing alone on one end of the picture, Messi does not need to bend his knees like his teammates, and his posture appears taller than others.

Why does Messi stand on the side in all team pictures?

Messi is the best on the field, but the football icon rarely watches highlights of his own games. "I like watching cartoons with Thiago (his son),” said the Barcelona star when asked what he prefers to watch  on television in his spare time.

Humble to the core

Ginza Takana, a Jeweller from Japan, made a solid gold replica of Messi’s trademark left foot, weighing 25kg. It went on sale in Japan in March 2013 to raise funds for victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and was valued at $5.25 million.

Messi’s golden foot

He is nicknamed ‘La Pulga Atomica’, which means ‘The Atomic Flea’ due to his fast, tricky style of play that collaborates with his small size to break defenders’ ankles.

Messi’s nickname