On 24 June 1987, Lionel Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina. He has since become one of the world's best players, winning a record five Ballons d'Or.
After initially playing for a local club managed by his father, Messi joined the youth program at Newell's Old Boys in 1995. There, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. The costs of treatment, reported to be approximately $900 per month, proved a barrier for a rumored move to River Plate, but Barcelona were interested and agreed to cover the expenses as part of a deal that brought Messi to Spain in 2003.
He joined the Barcelona youth team, but made his senior team debut in 2004 at the age of 17 and tallied a total of nine appearances that season, followed by 25 in 2005-06. The next season, he secured a regular place in the first team, but his breakout season came in 2008-09, when he made a total of 51 appearances and scored 38 goals as Barcelona won their first La Liga title in three years and also lifted the Champions League trophy. That led to his first Ballon d'Or (and FIFA World Player of the Year award) in 2009.
Playing with a perfect blend of balance and ball control, his scoring continued to improve, with 47 goals in 2009-10, 53 in 2010-11, and an amazing 73 in 2011-12. He currently has 507 goals in 583 appearances across all competitions for Barcelona while winning a total of eight La Liga titles, five Copas del Rey, four Champions League titles, and three FIFA Club World Cups. He also won additional Ballons d'Or in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.
Along the way, he has also earned 141 caps for Argentina with 74 goals.