Lionel Messi in numbers: After 793 goals and seven Ballon d’Ors – his World Cup win cements his place among the world’s greatest footballers | world news

With an astonishing 793 goals for club and country, 42 team titles and a record seven Ballon d’Ors to his name, Lionel Messi has already secured his status as a true footballing great.

But on Sunday the legendary argentinian star scored two goals and the first of five shots on goal, to win his team’s World Cup.

The 35-year-old has finally won the only trophy that has eluded him so far – the biggest of them all.

The win adds to their already extensive trophy cabinet and simultaneously ends 36 years of injury for Argentina, who last won the tournament in 1986 thanks to fellow Albiceleste legend Diego Maradona.

Messi's giant shirt pays homage to Argentina captain
A giant Messi shirt hangs in the center of Rosario, the Argentina captain’s hometown

For many, the World Cup victory also cements Messi’s status as the greatest footballer to ever grace the planet after years of debate between his fans and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here, Sky News takes a look at the Argentine superstar’s sensational career, in numbers.

1987 – A star is born

Born to a father who was a steelworks manager and a mother who worked in a magnet workshop, Messi grew up in a football-loving family in the central Argentinian town of Rosario, northwest of Buenos Aires. .

As a child, he constantly played football with his older brothers Rodrigo and Matias, as well as his cousins ​​Maximiliano and Emanuel Biancucchi, both of whom became professional footballers.

He started playing in a team at the age of four, before joining local club Newell’s Old Boys at the age of six, where he showed his goalscoring prowess with almost 500 goals in a team of young dubbed “The Machine of ’87”.

In this photo from April 17, 2018, a small mural depicting Lionel Messi as a child decorates the wall of a football pitch used by the youth teams of Newell's Old Boys, Messi's boyhood club, in Rosario, Argentina .  Rosario-born Messi played for local side Rosario before signing with Barcelona aged 13.  The mural is the only sign that he was a standout player here as a kid.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A small mural of Lionel Messi as a child decorates the wall of a football pitch used by Newell’s Old Boys youth teams. Photo: AP

But it was later discovered that a young Messi suffered from growth hormone deficiency, a condition that threatened his future career.

His father initially used his own health insurance to cover the $1,000-a-month treatment, which involved Messi injecting hormones into his legs every night.

After the insurance cover for the treatment ended, Messi’s father asked Newell to contribute.

However, the club, partly due to the difficult economic situation in the country at the time, refused to fully fund the treatment.

13 – Age Messi signed for Barcelona

Messi’s father looked further afield, to Spain, for a club he hoped would help fund his son’s hormone treatment, leading to a trial with Barcelona.

FC Barcelona's player Leo Messi of Argentina celebrates his goal against Betis during their Spanish League soccer match in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Saturday February 18, 2006. Barcelona won 5-1.  (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Messi celebrates his goal against Betis in a Spanish League game in 2006. Photo: AP

After initial hesitation from the La Liga side, the club’s first-team manager Charly Rexach, with no papers to hand, offered Messi’s family a contract on a napkin.

Messi would complete his growth hormone treatment at the age of 14 and then, after approval by the Spanish football federation, would join Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy.

He became part of Barcelona’s biggest youth team, scoring 36 goals in 30 games and helping guide his side to an unprecedented league and cup treble.

17 – Messi’s professional debut

After dominating in the youth leagues, Messi, a small 5ft 7in forward with a low center of balance, excellent ball control and a brilliant left foot, made his first-team debut at the age of 16 years old in a friendly match.

His first professional debut came at the age of 17 years and three months, Barcelona’s youngest ever player, in a game against Espanyol in October 2004.

Argentina's Lionel Messi smiles during a news conference in Buenos Aires, Thursday, September 1, 2005. Argentina will face Paraguay next Sunday in Asuncion for a 2006 World Cup qualifying match. (AP Photo/Daniel Luna)
Argentinian Lionel Messi smiles during a press conference in Buenos Aires in 2005. Photo: AP

That season he played 244 minutes in nine appearances, scoring his first goal against Albacete in May 2005.

In August of the same year, he made his debut for Argentina, in a 2-1 victory over Hungary.

793 – Messi’s total competitive goals *so far

Out of 1,002 professional games for club and country, Messi has a staggering return of 793 goals.

Although there is much debate, due to a lack of official records and whether to include goals scored in friendly matches, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, Messi is only behind rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time goalscoring rankings. .

But he has 350 assists to his name – 116 more than Ronaldo – and has played 143 fewer games.

In this May 30, 2006 file photo, Argentina's Lionel Messi dribbles past an unidentified Angolan player during an exhibition soccer match in Salerno, Italy.  In Spain, young footballers can sign professional contracts at the age of 16, the minimum age to work under Spanish law.  Before that, children join training academies run by football clubs which field youth teams in amateur leagues.  The best known example in Spain is that of Barcelona "La Masia" academy
Argentina’s Lionel Messi in a match against Angola in 2006

Messi holds a number of goalscoring records, including being Barcelona’s all-time top scorer (627) and Argentina (98).

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He also holds the world record for most goals (71) in a single season, beating legendary German striker Gerd Muller’s previous record of 67.

Messi has 13 World Cup goals so far in his career, across five tournaments, and is the only player in history to score a World Cup goal as a teenager, twenties and thirties.

42 – The number of titles won by Messi

With 41 club and international titles to his name, the World Cup victory makes Messi the most decorated footballer in history along with his former teammate, Brazilian right-back Dani Alves.

In two decades with Barcelona, ​​Messi has won 10 La Liga titles, seven Champions League trophies and 15 domestic cups.

    In this May 27, 2009 file photo, Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, right, and Lionel Messi hold up the trophy at the end of the UEFA Champions League final soccer match between Manchester United and Barcelona in Rome.  Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta or Lionel Messi will win the FIFA Ballon d'Or trophy on Monday as the best player in the world, and a large part of their teammates.  the success can be attributed to Barcelona's La Masia youth academy.  (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta, right, and Lionel Messi lifting the 2009 Champions League trophy. Photo: AP

He has also won the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup three times each.

For Argentina, he has won almost every major international competition with the World Cup being the only one to elude him so far, including the Copa America, the Finalissima and an Olympic gold medal.

He has a Ligue 1 title with his current club, Paris Saint-Germain.

49 – The number of individual honors won by Messi *so far

Barcelona's Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho, left, and Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o, right, show off their FIFA World Player trophies and Argentina's Leo Messi, center, with his Golden Boy trophy before their Spanish League soccer match against Celta Vigo at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Tuesday December 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Ronaldinho, left, Samuel Eto’o, right, and Messi, center, with his Golden Boy Trophy in 2005

As well as club and international honours, Messi also has a mass of individual accolades, including a record seven Ballon d’Or trophies, the latest in 2021.

He also has nine La Liga Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball – a tournament in which his Argentina side lost in the final to Germany.

Messi also has six European Golden Boot awards and an MVP trophy for the 2021 Copa America, in which he was instrumental in guiding Argentina to success.

Three – Messi’s children

The Ballon d'Or Awards - Theater du Chatelet, Paris, France - November 29, 2021 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and their sons before the awards REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Lionel Messi with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and their sons at the Ballon d’Or.

Off the pitch, Messi has three children, Thiago, born in 2012, Mateo, born in 2015, and Ciro, born in 2018, with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo.

The couple have been together since they were 20 years old.

Like Messi, Roccuzzo hails from the Argentinian town of Rosario, where they tied the knot in 2017.

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