10 lesser-known facts about Inter Miami star Lionel Messi

10 lesser-known facts about Inter Miami star Lionel Messi

Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer.

By Cynthia De Saint

June 14, 2024

Ask any soccer-playing kid or sports-loving adult in Florida (and honestly, across the globe) who is the greatest player of them all, and he or she will undoubtedly shout the name “Messi!” with many exclamation points. 

And there’s a good reason for that: Lionel Messi has scored more goals in Europe’s “big five” leagues than anyone else in history. In fact, he scored 672 for Barca, 32 for Paris Saint-Germain, and 103 for Argentina. 

Know Absolutely Everything About Lionel Messi? Think Again.

Photo courtesy of Tim Bernhard via Unsplash.

He has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times — two more than any other player, and is the only player to win the Golden Ball (awarded to the tournament’s best player) twice. He has even won an Olympic gold medal when he helped his country win the men’s football tournament in Beijing in 2008 against Nigeria!

That’s why it came as no surprise that when it was announced that el gran Messi would be playing for Inter Miami, Floridians all across the state couldn’t contain their excitement.

Even Messi seemed enthused with the idea of playing in the balmy Sunshine State. 

“I had to go to the US league to experience soccer in a different way and enjoy the day-to-day. Obviously, with the same responsibility and desire to win and always do things well. But with more calm,” said Messi when asked to explain his decision to sign up with the Magic City. 

So, in honor of Messi’s number 10, here are 10 facts — some that are fun, others that you may never have heard of, and a few that will surprise you — about history’s most famous soccer player!

10 facts about #10

1. Sorry, Lionel Richie!

His real name is Luis. He was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina, as Luis Lionel Andres Messi. Rumors that he was named after American singer Lionel Richie are untrue. It’s unclear why he chose to be known as Lionel, or Leo, for short.

2. A young prodigy

In 2000, a scout from F.C. Barcelona hired Messi, then 12, to play soccer. Impressed by the child’s ability to pick the ball, carry it, and score, he wrote a contract on a paper napkin and hired him immediately.

3. No, size doesn’t matter

At age 10, Lionel was diagnosed with a hormone deficiency that was slowing his growth. His treatment cost $900 per month. His parents could not afford it, so Barcelona picked up the bill. Messi grew up to a lean 5 ’7.

4. Thank you, abuela!

You may have probably noticed that every time that Messi scores, his arms and eyes point reverentially up to the sky. That’s because Messi dedicates all of his goals to his late grandmother, Celia Olivera Cuccittini, who passed away some years ago. She was the first person to recognize little Leo’s skills, and encourage him to take up the sport that would make him universally famous. 

5. He beat the egg!

Messi has the most-liked Instagram post ever, with his celebratory photo after winning the 2022 World Cup. This post got over 75.6 million likes to date, surpassing by 15 million likes the second-most popular Instagram post, which is a photo of … an egg. You could say Messi took on an egg, and beat it! 

Know Absolutely Everything About Lionel Messi? Think Again.

Photo courtesy of Leo Messi via Instagram.

6. Coke is it … but not if his manager has a say in it.

Messi likes soda so much that Barcelona’s manager had to remove the Coke vending machine on the team’s premises because Messi was its single most frequent user.

7. Puppy love

Lionel has known his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, since the age of five. She was a friend of his family and was also related to one of his best friends growing up. Even after Messi moved to Spain, the pair always remained in touch. In 2012 they became a couple.

Know Absolutely Everything About Lionel Messi? Think Again.

Photo courtesy of Leo Messi via Instagram.

8. Following in dad’s footsteps

Messi’s son, Thiago, was signed by Newell’s Old Boys club no more than 72 hours after his birth in 2012. This was Messi’s first soccer club, so Given Messi’s reputation, it followed that Newell’s became interested in his son as soon as he was born. 

Know Absolutely Everything About Lionel Messi? Think Again.

Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer.

9. Loving tributes

A devoted family man, he has the face of his mother tattooed on his left shoulder, and his son’s name and handprints tattooed on his left calf. However, they are often concealed by the long socks that he wears during the matches. 

10. Using fame for good

Last but not least, he believes in using his influence to help those who don’t have the same advantages he enjoys. Lionel started the Leo Messi Foundation in 2007 to help children in at-risk situations. In 2010, Messi was appointed as a UNICEF Children’s Ambassador, and he has since worked to promote its life changing agenda. Messi has visited Argentina, Haiti, and Costa Rica to raise awareness about the life-or-death issues faced by the children of the world. 

For more on Messi, visit HERE

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.10 lesser-known facts about Inter Miami star Lionel Messi10 lesser-known facts about Inter Miami star Lionel Messi

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