99+ Lionel Messi Stats That Sum Up His Incredible Career

by Denis Metev
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Lionel Messi has been considered the best soccer player in the world over the last decade. If Messi’s statistics are anything to go by, he has already joined the ranks of the greatest of all time.

Lionel Messi stats are the stuff of legends. He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, breaking and setting new records seemingly every week. Let’s dive into some Leo Messi statistics to get a sense of his phenomenal career.

Contents show

Ultimate Lionel Messi Stats

  • Lionel Messi height – 1,7 m (5′ 7″)
  • Lionel Messi weight – 72 kg (158 lbs.)
  • Lionel Messi age – 32 years
  • Lionel Messi career games played – 855 (as of 1 March 2020)
  • Lionel Messi’s total career goals scored – 696 (as of 1 March 2020)
  • Lionel Messi’s total career assists – 289 (as of 1 March 2020)
  • Lionel Messi’s total career trophies – 34
  • Lionel Messi’s total individual career awards – 94
  • Lionel Messi salary – $33.6 million a year
  • Lionel Messi net worth – $400 Million
  • Lionel Messi Champions League stats – 141 games, 114 goals, four-time champion

1. Messi began his football career with Newell’s Old Boys in 1994, where he played for six years and scored almost 500 goals

(Source: ESPN)

  • He joined his first team, local club Grandoli, at just four years old, where his father coached him.
  • Growing up, he idolized Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
  • At age 10 he was scouted by Buenos Aires club River Plate

Lionel Messi’s biography is ripe for adaptation. He was born and raised in Rosario, Central Argentina, on 24 June 1987. He grew up in a tight-knit, soccer-loving family. He developed an early passion for the beautiful game, often playing with his older brothers and cousins.

Messi joined Old Boys, a team he was a lifelong fan of, in 1993. He became part of “The Machine of ‘87”, the nearly-unbeatable youth team, named after their birth year. His youth coach Adrián Coria immediately recognized his talent and knew he would be something special.

2. Messi signed with Barcelona’s youth academy in 2000, aged 13, and scored 36 goals in 30 games in his first full season

(Source: The Guardian)

  • He won an unprecedented treble of the league and both the Spanish and Catalan cups with the Cadates A-side.
  • Messi scored two goals in 10 minutes in a 4-1 Copa Catalunya final victory over Espanyol while suffering from a broken cheekbone.
  • Arsenal made him an offer to join the Gunners, but he chose to stay in Barcelona.
  • He scored 18 goals in 11 league games for the Barcelona Juveniles A-side. 

His future as a professional player was nearly derailed when, at 10 years old, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Argentina was in the middle of economic collapse at the time and his family couldn’t afford his treatment, so they hatched a plan. Messi’s family had relatives in Catalonia, so they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona, so Leo could relocate to Spain and get treatment there. 

Despite initial hesitation from the board of directors, first-team director Charly Rexach offered Messi a contract on a paper napkin as a sign of commitment. 

After completing his growth hormone treatment aged 14, Messi became an integral part of the “Baby Dream Team”, Barcelona’s greatest-ever youth team, alongside Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué.

3. In 2003, Messi made his first-team debut for Barcelona at 16 years, four months and 23 days

(Source: ESPN)

  • Messi scored five goals in ten games for Barcelona’s C team, including a hat-trick in eight minutes during a Copa del Rey match against Sevilla. 
  • Messi also played 17 games for the Barcelona B team during the 2004-05 season, scoring six goals
  • He signed his first professional contract in 2004, with an initial buyout clause of €30 million.

During the 2003–04 season, his fourth with Barcelona, Messi rapidly progressed through the club’s ranks, debuting for a record five teams in a single campaign. 

His debut for the first team in a friendly against José Mourinho’s Porto. Messi quickly endeared himself to the technical staff and his teammates. Particularly, it was Ronaldinho who befriended Messi and helped ease his transition into the first team. 

He finished the campaign having scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals in all official competitions.

4. Messi scored his first La Liga goal in 2005, against Albacete, at 17 years old

(Source: The National)

  • Barcelona won the league for the first time in six years that year.
  • That same year, Messi signed his first contract as a senior team player on the day of his 18th birthday.
  • His buyout clause increased to €150 million.
  • Inter Milan made an offer to pay his €150 million buyout clause and triple his wages.
  • He won Argentine Footballer of the Year for the first time, was named Young European Footballer of the Year, and was awarded the FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball.

Messi played only 77 minutes for the first team that entire season, coming on as a substitute in nine matches. 

At the time, he was the youngest player to represent Barcelona in an official competition and went on to become the youngest-ever scorer for the club. 

He started his first game during the Joan Gamper Trophy, Barcelona’s pre-season competition, against Fabio Capello’s Juventus. With his star on the rise, Barcelona was in danger of losing their blue-chip prospect for the first time. This is why they tied him down to an unprecedented nine-year contract that would keep him at Camp Nou until 2014. 

5. He made his Champions League debut during the 2005–06 campaign, scoring a solitary goal

(Source: BDFutbol

  • Messi scored 8 goals in 25 games, including his first in the Champions League.
  • Won his first of three consecutive FIFPro Young World Player of the Year awards.
  • He formed an impressive attacking trio with Ronaldinho and striker Samuel Eto’o
  • He won his first Champions League title with Barcelona in 2006, at 19 years old. 
  • A torn hamstring during a Champions League game with Chelsea ended his season prematurely. 

Messi’s domestic career was picking up steam, and his international career has also started taking off. As a dual Argentine-Spanish citizen, he was eligible to play for both countries. What began as a tug-of-war for his skills was quickly squashed by the diminutive dynamo, who declared his intentions to represent his country of birth. 

He won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with Argentina, finishing the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe. He then quickly drew comparisons to Diego Maradona, who had led Argentina to the title in 1979.

He was, however, constantly plagued by injuries early on, and had to sit out Barcelona’s Champions League final victory over Arsenal in Paris. 

6. At 20 years old, Messi scored his first hat-trick in El Clásico in 2007

(Source: The Guardian)

  • He scored 17 goals in 36 games across all competitions.
  • Won his first of seven consecutive Argentine Footballer of the Year awards. 
  • Was named Copa América Best Young Player.

While Barcelona began a gradual decline during the 2006-07 campaign, Messi’s mercurial rise continued. Already frequently compared to Maradona, those comparisons continued when Messi scored exact replicas of Maradona’s two most famous goals, the Goal of the Century and the Hand of God goal. 

7. Messi signed a new contract in July 2008 on an annual salary of €7.8 million, becoming the club’s highest-paid player

(Source: Spear’s Magazine)

  • He scored 17 goals in 36 games across all competitions.
  • Upon Ronaldinho’s departure, he started wearing his now-famous No. 10 jersey
  • Messi was voted the third-best player of the year for the 2007 Ballon d’Or, behind winner Kaká and runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • In 2008 he was, again, voted runner-up for the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, both times ending up behind Cristiano Ronaldo

After Ronaldinho lost form, Messi became Barça’s new star player at only 20 years old. This led to him receiving his famous nickname “Messiah”. He also started getting on the Ballon d’Or radar, coming in third and second in 2007 and 2008, respectively. This, in turn, began the storied rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo.

This boded well for his international career, where he was now a regular starter for Argentina’s national team. He helped steer the national side to the finals of the 2007 Copa América. Even though Argentina lost 3-0 to Brazil, Messi still got named Best Young Player of the tournament.

Barca’s slump continued and they finished the season with no trophies and continued doubts about Messi’s fitness. In response, Barcelona assigned him a personal physiotherapist who helped Messi stay virtually injury-free for the next four years.

8. In the 2008–09 season, Messi scored 38 goals in 51 games and contributed to a total of 100 goals in all competitions

(Source: BDFutbol)

  • That season Messi won a total of six team trophies – La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. 
  • Messi also won eight individual trophies – La Liga Best Forward, La Liga Best Player, UEFA Club Forward of the Year, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, FIFA Club World Cup Final Most Valuable Player, FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball, FIFA World Player of the Year, his fourth straight Argentine Footballer of the Year award and his first of four consecutive Ballon d’Or awards, at just 22 years old.  
  • He was also named a member of the UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFA FIFPro World11.
  • He won a gold medal with the Argentine U-23 side at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. 

Messi began his ascent to folklore levels of superstardom during the 2008–09 season. At the time, under Pep Guardiola, he began playing as a false nine behind Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry. 

His excellent form that season manifested into Barcelona beating Real Madrid 6-2, the team’s greatest-ever score against their rivals. Messi scored twice and assisted in another goal during the emphatic victory. That forward momentum propelled Barca to win their first treble in the history of Spanish football.

Messi won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards by the greatest voting margin in each of these trophies’ history.

9. His goal-scoring rate increased during the 2009–10 campaign when he netted a total of 47 goals in all competitions

(Source: The National)

  • Messi helped Barcelona win a second consecutive La Liga trophy with only a single defeat.
  • In 2010 he became the inaugural winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, an amalgamation of the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
  • He finished his Champion’s League season as top scorer (with 8 goals) for the second consecutive year. 
  • Messi scored four goals in 18 appearances for Argentina during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying process.
  • He started wearing the No. 10 jersey for Argentina following Juan Román Riquelme’s retirement.

Leo’s prosperity with Barca continued when he became that season’s Champions League top scorer with nine goals. At the time he was just 22 years old, the youngest in the tournament’s history. 

He was also instrumental for his team in the second half of 2009, as Barcelona became the first club to achieve the sextuple, winning six top-tier trophies (Copa del Rey, La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Champions League, and FIFA Club World Cup) in a single year.

10. At the end of 2010–11 season, Messi became the first player in Spanish football history to reach the 50-goal benchmark

(Source: BDFutbol)

  • He finished the season with 53 goals and 24 assists in all competitions, making him Barcelona’s all-time single-season top scorer.
  • Messi was that season’s La Liga top goalscorer (31) and top assist provider (18), helping Barcelona win its third consecutive La Liga title
  • He was also the Champions League’s top scorer for the third consecutive year, with 12 goals, scoring the match-winning goal in Barça’s 3–1 victory over Manchester United in the final. 

While Argentina’s national team was in the middle of a three-year period marked by poor performances, Messi’s club career only kept getting better. 

He helped Barcelona achieve 16 consecutive league victories, a record in Spanish football, on their way to a third consecutive La Liga title.

He also finished the season as Barcelona’s all-time single-season top scorer. 

11. During the 2011–12 season, Messi scored a hat-trick or more on 10 occasions

(Source: BDFutbol)

  • He began the campaign by helping Barcelona win both the Spanish and European Super Cups
  • Became the Spanish Super Cup’s all-time top scorer with eight goals.
  • Messi went on to score an unprecedented 73 goals and provided 29 assists in all club competitions during the season. 
  • His exploits earned him the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, a revival of the old-style Ballon d’Or.
  • He again received the FIFA Ballon d’Or, becoming only the fourth player in history to win the Ballon d’Or three times

Messi, at this point, had effectively become the tactical focal point of Guardiola’s team. He scored three times in a 5–4 aggregate victory over Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. With this, he overtook Raúl as the competition’s all-time top scorer. 

He also earned the Golden Ball as the best player of the FIFA Club World Cup, as he had done two years before. 

12. The year 2012 saw Messi break several long-standing records, becoming the top goalscorer in Barcelona’s history at 24 years old

(Source: The Daily Telegraph)

  • He scored four goals in a single match on two separate occasions – league fixtures against Valencia and Espanyol.
  • He scored five times in a single match in Champions League last 16-round match against Bayer Leverkusen.
  • He finished the league season as the top goalscorer, once again, with the unprecedented 50 goals in 37 appearances, a La Liga record.
  • Messi scored 73 goals in 60 appearances in all competitions in 2012, making him the single-season top scorer in the history of European club football.
  • He surpassed César Rodríguez’s record of 190 league goals, becoming Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in La Liga.
  • By the end of 2012, Messi had 91 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and Argentina, setting a Guinness World Record for most goals scored in a calendar year.
  • He topped off his fantastic year by becoming the first player in history to win the Ballon d’Or four times. 

Despite Lionel Messi’s career statistics continuing to set and break records at a freakish rate, Barcelona’s four-year reign of success under Guardiola came to an end. They lost the league to Real Madrid and were eliminated from the Champions League by eventual champions Chelsea.

During the campaign, Messi’s total goals tally surpassed Gerd Müller’s record of most goals scored in a calendar year. As a gesture of respect, Messi sent Müller a number 10 Barcelona shirt.

13. In the 2013–14 season, Messi signed a new contract to become the highest-paid footballer in the world with an annual salary of €36 million

(Source: FranceFootball)

  • Messi’s goal tally was at 41 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions. 
  • He also set a new record by becoming the first player to score consecutively against all 19 opposition teams in La Liga.
  • A hat-trick against Osasuna saw him overtake Paulino Alcántara’s 369 goals to become Barcelona’s top goalscorer in all competitions, including friendlies.
  • Another hat-trick against Real Madrid saw him become the all-time top scorer in El Clásico. 

After four largely injury-free seasons, the muscular injuries that had previously plagued Messi reoccurred. He struggled with injury throughout 2013, eventually parting ways with his long-time personal physiotherapist. He suffered five injuries, and his overall statistics took a drop. Those injuries ended his goalscoring streak of 21 consecutive league games.

Despite being unfit, Barcelona continued to field him in important games, giving credence to the notion that Barca was over-reliant on their star player. 

14. Messi set five individual records and helped Barcelona set a new team record during the 2014–15 season

(Source: BBC Sport)

  • His records that season include: all-time top scorer in La Liga, all-time top scorer in the Espanyol/Barcelona derby, most hat-tricks in Spanish football history and the first player ever to get the title of top scorer in five Champions League seasons.
  • He also steered Barça to the sixth double and second treble, becoming the first team in history to do so. 
  • Barcelona’s attacking trio of Messi, Luis Suárez, and Neymar scored a total of 122 goals in all competitions that season, a record in Spanish football.
  • He scored 58 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions. 
  • He lost the FIFA Ballon d’Or to Cristiano Ronaldo for the second year in a row, but received the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, for a second time. 

With the introduction of Suárez and Neymar to the team, Messi regained, arguably, his best form as he finally had teammates with whom to share the goal-scoring load. 

He scored, what many consider to be, the greatest of his career in Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao. 

He scored another fantastic goal that season against Bayern Munich in the Champion’s League. He chipped the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after dribbling past Jérôme Boateng and making the defender lose his center in the process. 

The clip went viral, becoming the year’s most tweeted-about sporting moment, and was named the best goal of the season by UEFA. 

15. In 2016, Messi won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for a record fifth time in his career

(Source: ESPN)

  • Messi scored his 300th league goal in a 1–3 away win against Sporting de Gijón.
  • He also scored Barca’s 10,000th goal in all official competitions in a Champions League match against Arsenal.
  • He reached a personal milestone when he scored his 500th senior career goal for club and country against Valencia.
  • He scored 58 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions.

2016 was also the year of the infamous “pass penalty” when Messi assisted Suárez from a penalty kick. 

Some saw it as “a touch of genius”, while others criticized it as being disrespectful to the opponent. Celta’s players never complained, and their coach defended the penalty, stating that Barca’s forwards were very respectful. 

The penalty routine has been compared to that of Barça icon Johan Cruyff in 1982, who was battling lung cancer. This led many fans to believe that the penalty was a tribute to him. Cruyff himself was “very happy” with the play, insisting “it was legal and entertaining”.

16. In 2017 Lionel Messi’s free-kick stats reached a new peak, becoming Barcelona’s all-time top-scorer from free-kicks with 27 goals

(Source: Sky Sports)

  • He scored his sixth hat-trick in the Champions League in a 7-0 victory over Celtics, the most by any player.
  • Messi scored his 54th Champions League group stage goal, surpassing the previous record of 53 goals held by Raúl.
  • Messi scored in a 5–0 win against Las Palmas, equalling Raúl’s record for the greatest number of teams scored against in La Liga (35).
  • He finished the 2016–17 season with 54 goals and 16 assists in all competitions, bagging both the Pichichi and European Golden Boot Awards for the fourth time in his career.

Messi lifted his first title as interim captain when Barca won the 2016 Copa del Rey. Still, his rivalry with CR7 intensified when he lost the Ballon d’Or for the second time to the Portuguese.

He, however, continued to dominate in the goal-scoring department and rack up records. Messi’s career goals tally for Barcelona reached the 500th mark in a 3–2 away win over Real Madrid, marking the occasion with a memorable celebration. 

Lionel Messi Number 10

17. In the 2017–18 season, Messi set the record for the most league goals scored for the same club in one of Europe’s top five divisions (366)

(Source: bein sports)

  • Messi scored his 100th goal in all UEFA club competitions, his 97th in the Champions League, in a 3–1 home victory over Olympiakos. He’s only the second player to do so after his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • He scored 45 goals in 54 appearances in all competitions.
  • He signed a new contract to keep him in Barcelona until 2020-21, and his buyout clause was set at €700 million
  • Messi helped Barcelona set the longest unbeaten streak (43 games) in La Liga history.

Lionel Messi’s Champions League stats reached triple digits when he scored his 99th and 100th Champions League goals in a 3–0 home win over Chelsea. That way he became only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo to reach this landmark. 

He also achieved it at a younger age, in fewer appearances, having played fewer minutes, and having taken fewer shots than his Portuguese counterpart. 

He received a record fifth Golden Boot that year too.

With the departure of former captain Andrés Iniesta, Messi was named the team’s new permanent captain for the following season.

18. Messi lifted his first trophy as Barcelona captain, the Spanish Super Cup, in 2018

(Source: sport-English)

  • Messi scored a hat-trick in a 4–0 home win over PSV Eindhoven, setting a new record for the most hat-tricks in the Champions League with a total of eight.
  • He scored Barcelona’s 6000th goal in La Liga against Alavés, with his 28th goal from a free-kick.
  • Messi won his first league title as Barcelona’s captain, and his 10th overall, in 2019 in his 450th La Liga appearance for Barca.
  • He scored 50 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions.

He captured his sixth Pichichi Trophy as the league’s top scorer, which is still the all-time record. He also won his sixth Golden Shoe award – yet another record, as it was his third one in a row.

Messi scored two free-kicks – his ninth and tenth goals from set-pieces in the calendar year – in a 4–0 away win over Catalan Derby rivals Espanyol in La Liga. This was the first time ever that he had managed such a feat in a league match. 

His first goal was also his 10th league goal of the season, making him the first player ever to reach double figures in La Liga for 13 consecutive seasons.

19. In December 2019, Messi was awarded a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or

(Source: The Telegraph)

  • He also won the 2019 Best FIFA Men’s Player Award.
  • His goal against Real Betis was shortlisted for the 2019 FIFA Puskás Award.
  • Messi’s La Liga goal count to date broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 419 goals scored in Europe’s top five leagues.
  • He also won the Laureus award for Best Sportsman of the Year.

Messi’s stats this last season have only gotten better. On 13 January 2019, he scored his 400th La Liga goal in his 435th league appearance in a 3–0 home win over Eibar. He became the first player ever to get to this tally in just one of Europe’s top five leagues.

During the course of the year, Messi scored the 50th hat-trick of his career in a run of form, which saw him clinch his first La Liga title as captain. He also captured his sixth Pichichi Trophy as the league’s top scorer, with 36 goals in 34 appearances. With six Pichichi titles, Leo Messi’s statistics put him on equal ground with Telmo Zarra as the player with the most top-scorer awards in La Liga.

FAQs

Q: Who does Messi play for?
A: Messi has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona.

Q: How many goals has Messi scored?
A: As of 1 March 2020, Lionel Messi’s stats are 696 career goals for both club and country. He’s scored a record 437 goals for Barcelona and 70 goals for Argentina.

Q: Who has more goals, Messi or Ronaldo?
A: As of 1 March 2020, Ronaldo is in the lead with 725 career goals for club and country to Messi’s 696. The caveat here is that Cristiano Ronaldo has played 145 career games more than Leo Messi.

Q: When did Messi start playing soccer?
A: Messi started playing football as early as four years old when he joined the local Argentine club Grandoli. There, he was actually coached by his father.

Q: How many games did Messi play?
A: Lionel Messi stats as of 1 March 2020 show Messi has played a total of 611 career games for club and country, making 473 appearances for Barcelona and 138 appearances for Argentina.

Q: What position does Messi play?
A: Over his illustrious career, Messi has developed into a combination of a number 8 (creator), 9 (scorer), and 10 (assistant).

Sources:

1. ESPN
2. Bein sports
3. Sky Sports
4. BBC Sport
5. The Daily Telegraph
6. FranceFootball
7. Spear’s Magazine
8. BDFutbol
9. The National
10. The Guardian
11. BDFutbol
12. The Daily Telegraph
13. FranceFootball
14. BBC Sport
15. ESPN
16. Sky Sports
17. BeIn Sports
18. Sport-English
19. The Telegraph
20. GIF Sources – Tenor

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