Clubs: FC Barcelona
• Born in Rosario, Argentina, Messi's special talent was discovered at an early age by Barcelona, who took him to Spain and arranged specialised treatment for his growth hormone deficiency.
• Claimed a Liga/UEFA Champions League double in 2005/06 but did not become a regular starter until the following season, when he soared to prominence with, among other exploits, a memorable hat-trick in El Clásico against Real Madrid CF (3-3).
• Won the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2008 Olympic Games with Argentina and in between times became his country's youngest representative at the FIFA World Cup, in 2006.
• Enjoyed a remarkable 2008/09 season, winning every competition Barcelona entered and registering 38 goals, including a top-scoring nine in the UEFA Champions League, where he doubled the Azulgrana's lead in the final against Manchester United FC with a rare header.
• Ended 2009 with an extra-time winner in the FIFA Club World Cup final and a clean sweep of the game's major individual honours − the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or.
• Became the youngest Barça player to reach 100 goals when he scored against Sevilla FC in the Liga on 16 January 2010; ended the season with another league title and 47 goals in all competitions, a tally that included a four-goal haul against Arsenal FC in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
• Finished as the UEFA Champions League's leading scorer for the third season running in 2010/11, scoring his 12th goal in the Wembley final against United and 53 in total in another prolific campaign.
• Won the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe Award at a ceremony in Monaco, a day before he opened the scoring in the 2011 UEFA Super Cup as Barcelona defeated FC Porto 2-0.
• Eclipsed César Rodríguez's club best of 232 goals for the Blaugrana in style by scoring a hat-trick in a 5-3 triumph over Granada CF on 20 March 2012 – two weeks later he broke the 12-goal record he jointly held for the most strikes in a single UEFA Champions League season when he converted two penalties against quarter-final opponents AC Milan.
• Surpassed Gerd Müller's 85-goal haul for club and country in a calendar year when he scored twice in a 2-1 Liga victory at Real Betis Balompié on 9 December 2012; won the FIFA Ballon d'Or for a fourth consecutive year the following month.
UEFA Champions League: winner 2006, 2009, 2011
UEFA Champions League: leading scorer 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11
UEFA Super Cup: winner 2009, 2011
UEFA Best Player in Europe: 2011
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2009
UEFA Club Forward of the Year: 2009
UEFA.com users' Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
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