77ºF

27 things to know about FIFA World Cup star Lionel Andrés Messi on his 27th birthday

A coach once nicknamed the Argentine soccer star as 'Messidona'

photo


Twenty seven years ago, Lionel Andrés Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina. In honor of his birthday, here is a list of 27 facts that every soccer fan should know about the World Cup star.

photo

1.

He has his one-year-old son's name, Thiago, tattooed on his left calf.

2. Forbes recently ranked him as the second highest paid player

3. His dad, Jorge Horacio Messi, was a factory steel  worker.

4. He is the first soccer player in history to win four FIFA Ballons d'Or awards.

5. He started to play soccer for a team his father coached when he was five.

photo

6.

Messi met Thiago's mom, Antonella Roccuzzo,  when they were kids in Rosario

7. Messi stands in at 5 feet 7 inches tall

8. As a kid he played for a team in Rosario known as "The Machine of '87."

9. Messi began his career as a left-winger and forward.

10. He wears the number 10 for Barcelona

11. He was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency when he was 11-years-old.

photo

12.

Messi has been a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 2010.

13. He became the youngest Argentine to score in the FIFA World Cup in 2006.

14. He is a devout Roman Catholic.

15. He has two cousins who play professionally for teams in Paraguay: Maxi and Emanuel Biancucchi.

16. Messi made it to the Guinness World Records for the most goals (91) in a year.

photo

17.

Since 2007, the Leo Messi Foundation has been helping kids from Argentina travel to Spain for health care.

18. "I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football," Diego Maradona said when Messi was 18.  

19. He is of Italian descent. His paternal ancestor, Angelo Messi, left Ancona, Italy for Argentina in 1883.

20. Messi signed with Barcelona until 2018.

21. He holds a record for the most consecutive league matches (21) scored (33).

photo

22.

Messi has the record of earning the most European Golden Shoe awards.

23. El Pais awarded him the King of European Soccer four times.

24. Messi was Barcelona's all-time top scorer in official club competitions at 24.

25. Messi's reported buy out with Barcelona is €250 million.

26. Messi obtained Spanish citizenship Sept. 26, 2005.

27. He holds the record as the first professional soccer player to ever score consecutively against all teams in a professional league