A FOOTBALL LEGEND
 Professional football player Lionel Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina. He started football at the age of 8, playing for the Newell’s Old Boys – a team in his native town.
 As a kid, Messi was smaller than most of the boys he played with; he was suffering from a hormone deficiency that restricted his growth. Medication was costly and Messi’s parents couldn’t pay for it. At the age of 13, Messi was offered an opportunity to play for Barcelona and have his medical bills paid by the team. So, the whole family moved across the Atlantic to Spain.
 Messi was famous for being short and rapid with a fierce style of play. He was soon compared to another well-known Argentinean footballer: Diego Maradona. Messi moved quickly through the ranks of the team’s junior system, and by the age of 16, he had made his first appearance for Barcelona. He put himself in the record books on May 1, 2005, as the youngest player to ever score a goal. That same year he led Argentina to the title in the under-20 World Cup.
 In recent years Messi has become one of the highest paid football players, earning an estimated $18 million a year. He has justified that he is worth that price by leading Barcelona to a lot of success; the left-footer’s team won the Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Club titles in 2009. That same year, he took home the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
 Even Maradona, the renowned retired player, has praised Messi. “I see him as very similar to me,” he told the BBC. “He’s a leader and is offering lessons in beautiful football. He has something different from any other player in the world.”
 Messi became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match in early March. By the end of 2012, he had scored 91 goals in club and international matches. Therefore, he broke one more record. In January 2013, Messi was named the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner for the fourth time!
National exam | Scientific Streams | Catch-up Session 2013 with Answers