In December 2004, a scruffy teenager made his debut for Barcelona. He played for eight minutes. This is how most youngsters' careers kick off, by a cameo substitute appearance. But this footballer’s career panned out differently, and how.
In the 12 years since, Lionel Messi has stamped his authority on European football. He has amassed innumerable individual and team honours, which include five Ballon d'Or awards. The Argentinian has won eight La Liga titles along with four Champions League crowns.
Most of these titles came during a ridiculously successful spell under Pep Guardiola. Post-Guardiola, the little Argentinian has continued to bring trophies people subconsciously associate with Barcelona.
Many consider the 29-year old to be the greatest ever to grace the football field. His sheer love for the game is what makes him so special.
Wikipedia lists him as a professional footballer, but it would be more apt, had he been listed as a magician, wizard or alien. Even after 12 years of mesmerising football, he never ceases to amaze. On that note, here are the top five times when Lionel Messi mesmerised for 90 minutes.
#1 Barcelona 5-2 Getafe 18/4/2007
Messi scored two goals on that night, and the second was a sweet strike into the top corner. That goal was by far the second best that night, courtesy of Messi’s stunning first.
Receiving the ball in his own half, he went on a mazy run that left five Getafe players trailing in his wake.
It was a dribble unlike any other, and he rounded the goalkeeper before finishing with his right foot. It was a truly special goal, labelled by many as the goal of the decade. Diego Maradona must have been proud.