Lionel Messi's career has been a stellar ascent and shows no signs as yet of slowing down. Born in Rosario in Argentina in 1987, he began playing football at a very young age, and it wasn't long before his skill and potential was noticed in Europe by Barcelona. He debuted in the 2004-5 season, … LES MER breaking FC Barcelona's team record for the youngest footballer to score a league goal, and being part of the outstanding team that won La Liga that year. His breakthrough season was 2006-7, when he became a first team regular, and in 2008-9 he scored 38 goals to play an integral part in the team's triple-winning success. He surpassed this achievement in 2009-10 with 47 goals in all competitions, and again in 2010-11 with 53 goals. Since Pep Guardiola took over as manager of Barcelona in 2008, Messi has become Barcelona's all-time top scorer in official club competitions - at the age of just 25. He scored an astonishing 91 goals in the calendar year 2012 alone. He won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2009, and won the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 and again in 2011 and 2012. He has also excelled on the international stage, playing for his national team. The diminutive Argentinian plays with a smile on his face at the most successful club in European football. He has even been praised by Maradona as his 'successor'. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, possibly even the greatest. Guillem Balague's perceptive and compelling book goes to the heart of the mystery - and genius - that is Messi. LES MINDRE
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