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Lionel Messi's journey to greatness

16 October 2019

October 16 marks 15 years since Lionel Messi made his debut for his childhood club.

The Argentine superstar has lit up the world stage since making his debut for the Blaugrana against Espanyol in October 2004, replacing Barça veteran Deco with eight minutes to go.

One of the most successful graduates from the La Masia academy, Messi made his debut under Dutch legend Frank Rijkaard, who gave him his first professional start at the age of 17, making him the second-youngest debutant for the Catalans at that time.

More than a decade and a half later, Messi is now regarded as arguably the one of the best players of all time.

Surprisingly, following his debut, it took him more than seven months to score his first goal for Barça.

The superstar has made more than 692 appearances for his boyhood club, scoring a remarkable 604 goals. 

The 32-year-old boasts an unparalleled goalscoring success in domestic competition, Barça’s main man tops the all-time La Liga goalscoring list by more than 100 goals, followed by nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo, who departed the league last season to join Serie A giants Juventus.

The Barça captain has been vital to the success of the team in recent years, leading them to victory in four Champions League finals, La Liga champions on ten separate occasions and countless domestic cup titles at Camp Nou.

Messi celebrated his 15th anniversary with FC Barcelona by picking up his sixth Golden Shoe award, notching 36 goals last campaign for his club, becoming the first player to win the accolade three successive years in a row.

Adding to his countless world accolades, include six Ballon d’Or titles, three Best Player in Europe awards.

The club’s talisman continues his fine form as the total forward and is renowned for his solo goalscoring ability for both club and country.