Buenos Aires, June 24 (MNN) Argentine superstar Lionel Messi — one of the greatest footballers of all time — turned 34 on Thursday, and countless fans wished him and feted him for his sporting achievements.
FC Barcelona, LaLiga and UEFA tweeted their birthday wishes during the day.
“According to World Football Statistics, Lionel Messi is the GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME. Happy Birthday, to The GOAT!” tweeted a Twitter user.
“Enjoying Lionel Messi is enjoying football. We are lucky to have fully witnessed greatness. Happy birthday to one of the best ever,” another tweet said.
Born on June, 24, 1987 in Rosario in Argentina, Messi signed up with Spain’s FC Barcelona at the age of 13.
He made his debut for Barcelona on November 16, 2003, during a friendly against FC Porto and his official debut on October 16, 2004, against Espanyol in a 1-0 win.
The Argentinian icon has won record 34 titles with Barcelona, including 10 La Liga, 4 UEFA Champions League, 7 Copa del Rey, 3 Club World Cups among others.
Among his feats are an unmatched 91 goals in 2012 to his first hat-trick against bitter rival Real Madrid.
With 73 international goals in 147 matches, Messi is Argentina’s all-time highest goal-scorer and has the joint-most number of international caps for La Albiceleste along with former FC Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano.
Messi is currently plying his trade in the ongoing 2021 Copa America in Brazil with his national side and has scored one goal and provided one assist in the first three matches of the group stage.
Argentina, with seven points from three matches, have already booked their place in the quarterfinal.
Here are some iconic moments from Lionel Messi’s career
First World Cup goal (2006)
The first-ever World Cup goal will always be special for Lionel Messi which came against Serbia and Montenegro in the 2006 World Cup.
Messi’s first hat-trick in El Clásico
In 2007, Messi announced his arrival on the big stage by netting a breathtaking hat-trick against Barcelona’s arch-rivals Real Madrid in a La Liga game. It was also Messi’s first-ever hat-trick.
91 goals in 2012
In the year 2012, Messi did the impossible as he went past German great Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record for the most number of goals in a single calendar year – 85. Messi achieved the feat in an away game against Real Betis. He went on to score 91 goals in that year.Messi scored 59 goals in La Liga, 13 Champions League, 5 in Copa del Rey, 2 in the Supercopa and 12 for Argentina.
First international hat-trick (2012)
Lionel Messi’s first-ever hat-trick came against Switzerland in an international friendly in Bern, Switzerland in 2012.
Hat-trick that took Argentina to World Cup (2018)
Lionel Messi has scored six hat-tricks in international football but this hat-trick against Ecuador in a 2018 World Cup qualifying game was perhaps the most important hat-trick in his career for Argentina.
Record sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019
In the year 2019, Messi won his record sixth Ballon d’Or by beating his long time rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. The prestigious trophy rounded off an almost perfect year for Messi.
He won La Liga, the European Golden Shoe and was the leading goal scorer in the Champions League (12) among other achievements.