This weekend sees the first of the 2012-13 clasico games between Real Madrid and Barcelona and so on this week’s main report we profile one of the best players in the world: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
Lionel Messi was born in Argentina near Rosario on 24 June 1987 and after showing promise as a footballer he moved to Barcelona at an early age. The Catalan club had recognised his talent and offered to pay for his medical treatment as he had a condition that affected his growth and which had become too expensive for his family to pay. Messi joined Barca’s underage sides and immediately made an impact moving up through the ranks quickly.
Messi made his debut for the club at the age of 17 years and 114 days against Catalan rivals Espanyol in October 2004 and in May the following year he became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer after he netted against Albacete. Since then it has been one success after another. He has played 339 times for the club scoring a remarkable 263 times since making his debut, including goals in the Champions League finals of 2009 and 2011. His haul of trophies for Barca is impressive with three Champions League winners medals, five La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey wins and five Spanish Supercopa victories. He was also instrumental in Barcelona becoming FIFA World Club champions on two occasions: in 2009 and 2011. His individual honours list is even more impressive as he has been chosen as world player of the year on three occasions winning the FIFA Ballon D’Or in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He has also been the Pichichi in Spain (the leading goalscorer) on two occasions – in 2010 and in 2012 when he scored an unbelievable 73 times in all competitions for Barcelona.
There have been suggestions that Messi cannot replicate his Barcelona feats for his country of birth, Argentina but his record for them is impressive. He won a FIFA under-20 World Cup winner’s medal in 2005 and then three years later was part of the gold-medal Olympic winning side in Beijing. Since he made his debut for the national side in 2005 at the age of 18 he has made 73 appearances scoring 23 times – not bad for someone who allegedly cannot play well for his country.
promise: Showing early signs of talent
a condition: Similar to an illness
made his debut for: Played his first match
haul of trophies: His (large) collection of cups and trophies
He was also instrumental in: He was very important, he played a major role
Pichichi: The trophy for the top scorer in Spain
replicate his feats: To repeat his performances