Lionel Andrés Messi (born 24 June 1987 in Rosario) is an Argentine international footballer who currently plays for FC Barcelona in the Primera División, and for the Argentine national team. He has drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, and indeed Maradona himself named Messi his “successor”.

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Lionel Messi was born in Santa Fe Province on 24 June 1987. At the age of five, he started playing football for Grandoli, a club coached by his father. In 1995, Messi switched to Newell’s Old Boys. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. River Plate showed interest in Messi’s progress, but did not have enough money to pay for the treatment of the illness that cost over £500 a month, as Argentina’s economy was collapsing.[citation needed] Carles Rexach, the sporting director of FC Barcelona, was made aware of Messi’s talent, and Barcelona signed him after watching him play, offering to pay for the medical bills if he was willing to move to start a new life in Spain. His family moved with the young player to Europe and he starred in the club’s youth teams. Wikipedia