Messi arrived in Barcelona at the age of 13 at a time when homeowners feared a lack of hormones could affect a child’s growth. From then on, Barcelona was the growth hormone not only for Messi’s body but also for his career.
Messi was the third of four children born to Georgia, manager of a steel factory in Rosario, Argentina, and Celia, a magnetic factory worker, in the birthplace of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Carlos Rexach, Barca’s former scout and scout who witnessed Messi’s play at the Newell’s Old Boys’ Club in Argentina, was the only one in front of him to sign a contract at a restaurant in 2000.
The family of four left Argentina for Spain for the first time, hoping to cure Messi’s hormone deficiency and facilitate schooling. However, Messi was unable to play much as the old club Newells were reluctant to accept the transfer and suffered occasional injuries.
The financially strapped family returned to Argentina with Messi. Deciding to stay in Rosario, they asked Messi about the future. At the age of 14, Messi insisted on returning to Barcelona. That day, the family split up. Mother Celia and 3 siblings in Rosario. Father Jorge and Messi in Barcelona. Doctors in Barcelona studied the growth hormone problem and suggested that Messi be vaccinated daily for several years to come. Study, training, vaccination. That’s how Messi became today, after a period of pain and setbacks, when he did not talk much and was not interested in anything other than playing football.
His biographer Leonardo Facchio wrote about his first encounter with Lionel Messi. The meeting took place when Messi returned to the Seattle Sportiva Sports Complex in Barcelona after a celebration at the Disney World theme park in the US during the 2009 holidays. Messi was accompanied by family and relatives on his way to Disney World with child-friendly rides. Asked if he would like to play at such a theme park at the age of 22, Messi said:
This was my childhood dream. Not just me, but all of the brothers and cousins. It just happened!
When asked who his favorite cartoon character at the Disney World theme park was, Messi told Leonardo Facchio: I do not watch cartoons. Just want to play! Yesterday, at the last press conference in Barcelona, where he lived for 22 years, it was clear that Messi still had a childhood left to explode. Messi, who left his mother and siblings at the age of 13 with his father, left the club yesterday with tears in his eyes.
Today, Messi is set to step down as the club’s all-time great. When the soil that has been trampled for a long time leaks out from under our feet, there is no type without great strength!
Messi did not grow up to be Barcelona’s icon in a day or a year. Barca did not really choose Messi, but Messi decided that this was his club.