Lionel Messi, a name synonymous with football greatness, has mesmerized fans around the world with his incredible skills, agility, and goal-scoring prowess. From his dazzling runs to his pinpoint accuracy, Messi’s impact on the sport is unparalleled. But where did it all begin for this football phenomenon? How early did Messi start playing the game that would make him a legend?

In this blog post, we delve into the early years of Lionel Messi’s football journey to explore the age at which he embarked on his remarkable career. From his childhood in Rosario, Argentina, to his rise through the ranks of Barcelona, we uncover the story of Messi’s humble beginnings and the milestones that paved the way for his unprecedented success. Join us as we step onto the field with young Messi and trace his path to becoming one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen.

Messi’s Early Years

Before Lionel Messi’s name became synonymous with football excellence, he was a young boy growing up in Rosario, Argentina. Messi’s passion for football ignited at a tender age, captivating him and setting the stage for a remarkable journey ahead. Here, we explore Messi’s early years and the influences that shaped his love for the beautiful game:

Childhood in Rosario: Born on June 24, 1987, Messi spent his formative years in Rosario, a city known for its rich football culture. Surrounded by a football-obsessed community, Messi was immersed in an environment that nurtured his love for the sport.

The Start of Messi’s Football Journey: At the age of three, Messi took his first steps onto the football pitch, guided by his supportive family. Even at a young age, his talent and dedication were evident, as he displayed exceptional control over the ball and a natural flair for the game.

Early Club Experience: Messi’s journey gained momentum when he joined the local youth club, Grandoli, at the age of six. There, he honed his skills and showcased his extraordinary abilities, catching the attention of talent scouts and coaches.

Move to Newell’s Old Boys: Messi’s talent soon attracted the interest of Newell’s Old Boys, one of the renowned football clubs in Argentina. At the age of nine, he joined the club’s prestigious youth academy, where he continued to develop his skills under the guidance of experienced coaches.

Diagnosis of Growth Hormone Deficiency: During his time at Newell’s Old Boys, Messi faced a significant hurdle when he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. This condition required medical treatment, and it led to an opportunity that would change the course of his career.

Journey to Barcelona: Seeking the best treatment for Messi’s condition, his family made the decision to move to Barcelona, Spain. It was there that Messi caught the attention of FC Barcelona, one of the world’s most prestigious football clubs, during a trial at their renowned youth academy, La Masia.

Entry into Barcelona’s Youth System: At the age of 13, Messi officially joined FC Barcelona’s youth ranks, marking the beginning of his professional football journey. Under the guidance of experienced coaches and alongside talented young players, Messi flourished in the club’s famed academy, showcasing his exceptional skills and determination.

Messi’s early years laid the foundation for the footballing prodigy he would become. From the streets of Rosario to the hallowed grounds of Barcelona’s La Masia, his passion, dedication, and raw talent propelled him forward. In the next section, we will explore the age at which Messi started playing professional football, marking the next chapter in his extraordinary career.

The Age Messi Started Playing Professionally

Lionel Messi’s extraordinary talent and dedication led him to the professional realm of football at a remarkably young age. His journey from the youth ranks to the senior team of FC Barcelona showcases his exceptional abilities and the trust placed in him by the club. Here, we delve into the age at which Messi began playing professional football:

Promotion to Barcelona B: At the age of 16, Messi’s skills and performances in Barcelona’s youth academy earned him a promotion to the reserve team, known as Barcelona B. This team competed in the lower divisions of Spanish football and provided Messi with valuable experience against more seasoned players.

First-Team Debut: On October 16, 2004, at the age of 17 years and 114 days, Messi made his first-team debut for FC Barcelona in a friendly match against FC Porto. It was a glimpse of what was to come, as he showcased his immense talent and became the youngest player to represent the club in an official match.

Official Debut in La Liga: On November 16, 2003, at the age of 17, Messi made his debut in the Spanish top-flight league, La Liga, in a match against Espanyol. Despite a brief appearance as a substitute, Messi’s entry into La Liga marked the start of his professional career at the highest level.

Breakthrough Season: The 2005-2006 season proved to be Messi’s breakthrough, as he established himself as a regular first-team player. His incredible performances, skillful dribbling, and goal-scoring ability quickly gained attention and drew comparisons to football legends.

From his early teenage years, Messi’s exceptional skills and maturity caught the eye of his coaches and teammates. Despite his relatively small stature, he possessed an unparalleled ability to navigate through opponents and leave them in awe. The age at which Messi started playing professionally showcased his immense potential and set the stage for a career that would redefine football greatness.

In the following section, we will explore the milestones and achievements that Messi accomplished at a young age, solidifying his reputation as a rising star in the football world.

Milestones and Achievements

Lionel Messi’s early foray into professional football marked the beginning of a remarkable journey filled with incredible milestones and achievements. Despite his young age, Messi’s impact on the pitch was undeniable. Here are some of the notable milestones he achieved early in his career:

FIFA World Player of the Year: In 2009, at the age of 22, Messi received the prestigious FIFA World Player of the Year award. This recognition placed him among the elite players in the sport and marked the beginning of his dominance on the global stage.

UEFA Champions League Success: Messi played an instrumental role in Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League triumphs. In the 2005-2006 season, at the age of 18, he won his first Champions League title with the club. This was followed by several more victories, including memorable triumphs in 2009 and 2011.

FIFA World Cup Success: On the international stage, Messi played a pivotal role in Argentina’s success in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In the final against France, he led his team to victory, displaying his exceptional skills and composure. The penalty shootout win against France became a historic moment for Messi and Argentina, securing their first World Cup title since 1986.

Numerous Individual Records: Messi’s early years saw him break numerous individual records, including becoming the youngest player to score 200 goals in La Liga and setting the record for the most goals in a calendar year.

Impact and Legacy

Messi’s achievements at such a young age showcased his exceptional talent, determination, and unwavering commitment to the sport. His ability to handle pressure, make intelligent decisions on the field, and perform consistently at the highest level set him apart from his peers.

Moreover, Messi’s early success paved the way for a career that would redefine football greatness. His influence extended beyond the pitch, inspiring countless aspiring footballers worldwide and capturing the imagination of fans with his mesmerizing skills and unmatched goal-scoring ability.


In conclusion, Lionel Messi’s journey into professional football began at a tender age, and his early years were filled with outstanding accomplishments and breathtaking performances. From his promotion to Barcelona B to his first-team debut and subsequent achievements, Messi’s impact on the sport was felt from the very beginning. As he continued to surpass milestones and redefine what was possible on the field, Messi left an indelible mark on football history.

As fans, we were privileged to witness the rise of a football prodigy who would go on to become one of the greatest players of all time. Messi’s story serves as a reminder of the power of talent, dedication, and perseverance. The age at which he started playing professionally was merely the beginning of a captivating journey that continues to amaze and inspire football enthusiasts worldwide.