Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players, its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators. In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team's goal line; the opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball. In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals. After each try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points. Kicks at goal may be awarded for penalties, field goals can be attempted at any time. Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea, is a popular sport in Northern England, the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, South Auckland in New Zealand, southwest France and Lebanon.
The Super League and the National Rugby League are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European and Pacific Island countries, is governed by the Rugby League International Federation; the first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954. Rugby league football takes its name from the bodies that split to create a new form of rugby, distinct from that run by the Rugby Football Unions, in Britain and New Zealand between 1895 and 1908; the first of these, the Northern Rugby Football Union, was established in 1895 as a breakaway faction of England's Rugby Football Union. Both organisations played the game under the same rules at first, although the Northern Union began to modify rules immediately, thus creating a new faster, stronger paced form of rugby football. Similar breakaway factions split from RFU-affiliated unions in Australia and New Zealand in 1907 and 1908, renaming themselves "rugby football leagues" and introducing Northern Union rules.
In 1922, the Northern Union changed its name to the Rugby Football League and thus over time the sport itself became known as "rugby league" football. In 1895, a schism in Rugby football resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union. Although many factors played a part in the split, including the success of working class northern teams, the main division was caused by the RFU decision to enforce the amateur principle of the sport, preventing "broken time payments" to players who had taken time off work to play rugby. Northern teams had more working class players who could not afford to play without this compensation, in contrast to affluent southern teams who had other sources of income to sustain the amateur principle. In 1895, a decree by the RFU banning the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged led to twenty-two clubs meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and forming the "Northern Rugby Football Union". Within fifteen years of that first meeting in Huddersfield, more than 200 RFU clubs had left to join the rugby revolution.
In 1897, the line-out was in 1898 professionalism introduced. In 1906, the Northern Union changed its rules, reducing teams from 15 to 13 a side and replacing the ruck formed after every tackle with the play the ball. A similar schism to that which occurred in England took place in Australia. There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded at Bateman's Hotel in George Street. Rugby league went on to displace rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales and Queensland. On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup Final at Odsal Stadium, England, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code. In 1954 the Rugby League World Cup, the first for either code of rugby, was formed at the instigation of the French. In 1966, the International Board introduced a rule that a team in possession was allowed three play-the-balls and on the fourth tackle a scrum was to be formed; this was increased to six tackles in 1972 and in 1983 the scrum was replaced by a handover.
1967 saw. The first sponsors, Joshua Tetley and John Player, entered the game for the 1971–72 Northern Rugby Football League season. Television would have an enormous impact on the sport of rugby league in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought worldwide broadcasting rights and refused to take no for an answer; the media giant's "Super League" movement saw big changes for the traditional administrators of the game. In Europe, it resulted in a move from a winter sport to a summer one as the new Super League competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League war resulted in long and costly legal battles and changing loyalties, causing significant damage to the code in an competitive sporting market. In 1997 two competitions were run alongside each other in Australia, after which a peace deal in the form of the National Rugby League was formed; the NRL has since become recognised as the sport's flagship competition and since that time has set record TV ratings and crowd figures.
The objective in rugby league is to score more points through tries and field goals than the opposition within the 80 minutes of play. If after two halves of play, each consisting of forty minutes, the two teams are drawing, a draw may be declar
Zinedine Yazid Zidane, nicknamed "Zizou", is a French former professional football player and current manager of Real Madrid. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Zidane was an elite playmaker, renowned for his elegance, ball control and technique, played as an attacking midfielder for Cannes, Bordeaux and Real Madrid. At club level, Zidane won two Serie A league titles with Juventus, before he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight years. In Spain, Zidane won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League, with his left-foot volleyed winner in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition's history. Zidane won an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup with both teams. Capped 108 times by France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final and being named to the All-Star Team, while winning UEFA Euro 2000, being named Player of the Tournament.
The World Cup triumph made him a national hero in France, he received the Légion d'honneur in 1998. He received the Golden Ball for player of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup, despite his infamous sending off in the final against Italy for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest, he retired as the fourth-most capped player in France history. Zidane received many individual accolades as a player, including being named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, winning the 1998 Ballon d'Or, he was Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2001, La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the world's greatest living players compiled by Pelé, in the same year was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. Zidane is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d'Or, was the ambassador for Qatar's successful bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the tournament.
After retiring as a player, Zidane transitioned into coaching, began as his head coaching career at Real Madrid Castilla. He remained in the position for two years before taking the helm of the first team in January 2016. In his two and a half seasons with Madrid, Zidane won the UEFA Champions League an unprecedented three times consecutively, a La Liga title, a Supercopa de España, the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice each, his success saw him named Best FIFA Men's Coach in 2017, but he resigned in May 2018. Following poor results by Real Madrid in the subsequent months, Zidane returned to the club as manager in March 2019. Zinedine Yazid Zidane was born on 23 June 1972 in Marseille, in Southern France, he is the youngest of five siblings. Zidane is of Algerian Kabyle descent, his parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemoune in the Berber-speaking region of Kabylie in northern Algeria in 1953 before the start of the Algerian War. The family, which had settled in the city's tough northern districts of Barbès and Saint-Denis, found little work in the region, in the mid-1960s moved to the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane in the 16th arrondissement of Marseille.
I have an affinity with the Arabic world. I have it in my blood, via my parents. I’m proud of being French, but very proud of having these roots and this diversity, his father worked as a warehouseman and nightwatchman at a department store on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife. The family lived a reasonably comfortable life by the standards of the neighbourhood, notorious throughout Marseille for its high crime and unemployment rates. Zidane credits his father as the "guiding light" in his career, it was in Castellane where Zidane had his earliest introduction in football, joining in at the age of five in football games that the neighbourhood's children played on the Place Tartane, an 80-by-12-yard plaza that served as the main square of the housing complex. In July 2011, Zidane named former Marseille players Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up. At the age of ten, Zidane got his first player's licence after joining the junior team of a local club from Castellane by the name of US Saint-Henri.
After spending a year and a half at US Saint-Henri, Zidane joined SO Septèmes-les-Vallons when the Septèmes coach Robert Centenero convinced the club's Director to get Zidane. Zidane stayed with Septèmes until the age of 14, at which time he was selected to attend a three-day training camp at the CREPS in Aix-en-Provence, one of several such footballing institutes run by the French Football Federation, it was here that Zidane was spotted by AS Cannes scout and former player Jean Varraud, who recommended him to the training centre director of the club. As a 14 year old watching the 1986 World Cup, the performance of Diego Maradona left an indelible mark on him, with Zidane stating Maradona "was on another level". Zidane went to AS Cannes for a six-week stay, but ended up remaining at the club for four years to play at the professional level. Having left his family to join Cannes, he was invited by Cannes Director Jean-Claude Elineau to leave the dormitory he shared with 20 other trainees and to come and stay with him and his family.
Zidane said that while living with the Elineaus he found equilibrium. It was at Cannes where Zidane's first coaches noticed that he was raw and sensitive, prone to attack spectators who insulted his race or family, his first coach, Jean Varraud, encouraged him to channel his anger and focus on his own ga
Pelé runaround move
The Pelé runaround move is a football move designed to get around an opponent. The move requires split-second timing and speed in execution - letting a pass from a teammate approach but allowing it run past the opponent sprinting around the opposing player to continue the attack, it relies on speed for its execution in situations where there is little space. The "Pelé variant" was demonstrated by Brazilian Pelé during the 1970 FIFA World Cup match against Uruguay. In the second half, Brazilian centre-forward Tostão played a through pass to Pelé as a counter-attack started. Sprinting up the middle, Pelé was confronted with the Uruguayan goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz who came off his line quickly. Pelé got there first and fooled Mazurkiewicz by not touching the ball, causing it to roll to the goalkeeper's left, while Pelé went to the goalkeepers right. Circling the goalkeeper to collect, Pelé shot while turning towards the goal, but he turned in excess as he shot, the ball drifted just wide of the far post.
Pelé's move is a variant of the "selling the dummy" feint - letting the ball go around a defender also circling the opponent, rather than following the straight path of a pass or loose ball, can be useful in tight situations. It is discussed in such books as Scientific Soccer of the Seventies by soccer historian Kenneth MacDonald, who discusses Pelé's contribution in Brazil's 1970 World Cup victory in detail; this "runaround" move is mentioned in official FIFA World Cup Technical Reports as "audaciously executed, called for immense skill, timing and speed." Swedish player Jesper Blomqvist managed to perform a variant of the Pele runaround move with more success, adding a fake, that resulted in a goal when his IFK Göteborg played Helsingborgs IF in the Allsvenskan in 1995. Blomqvist relied more on deception than Pelé. Whereas the Brazilian had to move with utmost speed to avoid Mazurkiewicz, Blomqvist had more time and used a deceptive shuffling of the feet. Receiving an excellent through pass, the Swede confused the approaching keeper - letting the ball run - and faking left, while sprinting right, around his opponent.
He finished with an easy goal. As demonstrated by both Blomqvist and Pelé, the runaround move can thus work in "emergency" situations where speed and split-second timing is all, or where there is more time and space to fake out an opponent. In both scenarios, it can lead to spectacular results. Dummy/feint Cruijff Turn Marseille turn Seal dribble Step over Nutmeg Pele dummy and miss v Uruguay - Video of Pelé performing the trick Great goal by Jesper Blomqvist - Successful execution by Jesper Blomqvist
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior known as Neymar Jr. or Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his dribbling, skill and ability to play with both feet. Neymar came into prominence at an early age at Santos, where he made his professional debut aged 17, he helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, the 2011 Copa Libertadores, Santos' first Copa Libertadores since 1963. Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year, in 2011 and 2012, before moving to Europe to join Barcelona; as part of Barça's attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Champions League, came third for the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2015 for his performances. He followed this up by attaining a domestic double in the 2015–16 season. In August 2017, Neymar transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a move worth €222 million, making him the most expensive player ever.
In France, he claimed a domestic treble of Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, was voted as the Ligue 1 Player of the Year. With 60 goals in 96 matches for Brazil since debuting at age 18, Neymar is the third highest goalscorer for his national team, trailing only Pelé and Ronaldo, he was a key player in Brazil's victories at the 2011 South American Youth Championship, where he finished as leading goalscorer, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. His participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América was cut short by injury and a suspension but, the following year, he captained Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal in men's football at the 2016 Summer Olympics, two years featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Off the pitch, he ranks among the world's most prominent sportsmen. In 2017, Neymar was listed by Time to be one of the most influential people in the world, in 2018, France Football ranked him as the world's third highest paid footballer, earning €81.5m for a calendar year in combined income from salaries and endorsements.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior was born in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, to Neymar Santos Sr. and Nadine da Silva. He inherited his name from his father, a former footballer and became his son's advisor as Neymar's talents began to grow. Neymar comments on his father's role: "My father has been by my side, he takes care of things, my finances and my family." Growing up, Neymar combined his love of futsal with street football. In 2003, Neymar moved with his family to São Vicente, where he began playing for youth side Portuguesa Santista. In 2003, they moved to Santos, where Neymar joined Santos FC. With the success of his youth career and added income, the family bought their first property, a house next to the Vila Belmiro, their quality of family life improved, as at age 15, Neymar was earning 10,000 reais per month and at 16, 125,000 reais per month. At 17, he signed his first full professional contract, was upgraded to the Santos first team, began signing his first sponsorship deals. Neymar began playing football at an early age and he was soon spotted by Santos FC who offered him a contract in 2003, where he was inducted into their youth academy, which has, in the past, produced Brazilian internationals like Coutinho, Diego and Alex.
He joined the likes of Pepe, Pelé and Robinho in starting out his career at the club, nicknamed Peixe. While in the youth academy, Neymar met Paulo Henrique Ganso. Aged 14, Neymar travelled to Spain to join the Real Madrid youth team, at the time when Real had stars like Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and Robinho. Neymar made his professional debut on 7 March 2009, despite being only 17 years old; the following week he scored his first goal for Santos against Mogi Mirim. One month on 11 April, Neymar scored the decisive goal in a 2–1 win against Palmeiras in the 2009 Campeonato Paulista semi-final first leg. In the final, Santos suffered a 4–2 aggregate defeat to the Corinthians. In his first season, Neymar racked up 14 goals in 48 games. Neymar continued his ascendancy in 2010, and, on 15 April 2010, he scored five goals for Santos in an 8–1 rout of Guarani in the qualifying stages of the Brazilian Cup. Following the 2010 Campeonato Paulista in which Neymar scored 14 goals in 19 games, the club were crowned champions after a 5–5 aggregate win over Santo André in the finals.
Neymar was subsequently given the award for the best player in the competition. Neymar's performances for Santos have drawn comparisons to other Brazilians, including Robinho and Brazilian legend Pelé. In 2010, Santos rejected a £12 million bid for him from English Premier League team West Ham United, an offer from another English club, reported to be in the region of £20 million. Despite Santos unwillingness to sell and Neymar himself insisting "I'm focused only on Santos", his agent, Wagner Ribeiro, indicated that Neymar's career was elsewhere, stating "He wants to become the best player in the world; the chances of him doing that while playing in Brazil are zero." Although one year Neymar admitted, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, that he had been happy with Chelsea's interest in him as i
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Italian club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team. Considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo has a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, the most for a European player, is the first player to win four European Golden Shoes, he has won 27 trophies in his career, including five league titles, five UEFA Champions League titles and one UEFA European Championship. A prolific goalscorer, Ronaldo holds the records for most official goals scored in the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA European Championship, as well as those for most hat-tricks in the Champions League and La Liga, assists in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA European Championship, he has scored over 700 senior career goals for country. Born and raised on the Portuguese island of Madeira, Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart at age 15.
He underwent an operation to treat his condition, began his senior club career playing for Sporting CP, before signing with Manchester United at age 18 in 2003. After winning his first trophy in England, the FA Cup, during his first season there, he helped United win three successive Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League title, a FIFA Club World Cup. By age 22, he had received Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations and at age 23, he won his first Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. In 2009, Ronaldo was the subject of, what was, at the time, the most expensive association football transfer when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer worth €94 million. With Real Madrid, Ronaldo won 15 trophies, including two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, four UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups. Real Madrid's all-time top goalscorer, Ronaldo scored a record 34 La Liga hat-tricks, including a record-tying eight hat-tricks in the 2014–15 season and is the only player to reach 30 goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons.
After joining Madrid, Ronaldo finished runner-up for the Ballon d'Or three times, behind Lionel Messi, his perceived career rival, before winning back-to-back Ballons d'Or in 2013 and 2014. After winning the 2016 and 2017 Champions Leagues, Ronaldo secured back-to-back Ballons d'Or again in 2016 and 2017. A historic third consecutive Champions League followed, making Ronaldo the first player to win the trophy five times. In 2018, he signed for Juventus in a transfer worth an initial €100 million. A Portuguese international, Ronaldo was named the best Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football Federation in 2015, he made his senior debut for Portugal in 2003 at age 18, has since had over 150 caps, including appearing and scoring in eight major tournaments, becoming Portugal's most capped player and his country's all-time top goalscorer. He helped Portugal reach the final, he took over full captaincy in July 2008, leading Portugal to their first-ever triumph in a major tournament by winning Euro 2016, received the Silver Boot as the second-highest goalscorer of the tournament, before becoming the highest European international goalscorer of all-time.
One of the most marketable athletes in the world, he was ranked the world's highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017, as well as the world's most famous athlete by ESPN in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born in São Pedro, Funchal, on the island of Madeira and grew up in Santo António, Funchal, he is the fourth and youngest child of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook, José Dinis Aveiro, a municipal gardener and a part-time kit man. His second given name, "Ronaldo", was chosen after then-U. S. President Ronald Reagan, his great-grandmother on his father's side, Isabel da Piedade, was from the island of São Vicente, Cape Verde. He has one older brother and two older sisters and Liliana Cátia "Katia", a singer. Ronaldo grew up in a impoverished home, sharing a room with all his siblings; as a child, Ronaldo played for amateur team Andorinha from 1992 to 1995, where his father was the kit man, spent two years with Nacional. In 1997, aged 12, he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP, who signed him for a fee of £1,500.
He subsequently moved from Madeira to Alcochete, near Lisbon, to join Sporting's other youth players at the club's football academy. By age 14, Ronaldo believed he had the ability to play semi-professionally, agreed with his mother to cease his education in order to focus on football. While popular with other students at school, he had been expelled after throwing a chair at his teacher, who he said had "disrespected" him. However, one year he was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that could have forced him to give up playing football. Ronaldo underwent heart surgery where a laser was used to cauterise multiple cardiac pathways into one, altering his resting heart rate, he was resumed training a few days later. At age 16, Ronaldo was promoted from Sporting's youth team by first-team manager László Bölöni, impressed with his dribbling, he subsequently became the first player to play for the club's under-16, under-17 and under-18 teams, the B team, the first team, all within a single season.
A year on 7 October 2002, Ronaldo made his debut in the Primeira Liga, against
In sports, dribbling is maneuvering a ball by one player while moving in a given direction, avoiding defenders' attempts to intercept the ball. A player can dribble with their legs, stick or swimming strokes. A successful dribble will bring the ball past defenders and create opportunities to score. In association football, a dribble is one of the most difficult ball skills to master and one of the most useful attacking moves. In typical game play, players attempt to propel the ball toward their opponents' goal through individual control of the ball, such as by dribbling. In order to go past an opponent, dribbling can involve a wide variety of manipulative tricks and feints. Dribbling is invaluable in the third part of a pitch or at the wings, where most attacks take place. Dribbling creates space in tight situations where the dribbler is marked, the dribbler can either score or create scoring chances after a successful dribble. However, dribbling, if poorly mastered and used, may result in the loss of possession either when the ball is intercepted or tackled by a defender.
Some players prefer getting past players with speed and physicality, such as the winger Gareth Bale, some players go straight at opponents and look to go past them directly with a nutmeg, such as Luis Suárez, whereas others may use feints, control and acceleration to evade tackles, such as Lionel Messi. A skilful dribbler is hard to dispossess. At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard, renowned for being difficult to dispossess, set a World Cup record for successful dribbles completed in any World Cup game since 1966, with a 100% success rate in ten dribbles against Brazil. Early references to dribbling come from accounts of medieval football games in England. For example, Geoffrey Chaucer offered an allusion to such ball skills in fourteenth century England. In the Canterbury Tales he uses the following line: "rolleth under foot as doth a ball". At the end of the 15th century comes a Latin account of a football game, played at Cawston, England, it is included in a manuscript collection of the miracles of King Henry VI of England.
Although the precise date is uncertain it comes from between 1481 and 1500. This is the first account of an "kicking game" and the first description of dribbling: "he game at which they had met for common recreation is called by some the foot-ball game, it is one in which young men, in country sport, propel a huge ball not by throwing it into the air but by striking it and skilfully rolling it along the ground, that not with their hands but with their feet... kicking in opposite directions". It is known that dribbling skills were a key part of many nineteenth-century football games at English public schools with the earliest reference to ball passing coming in 1863 rules of The Football Association. In basketball, dribbling is the legal method of advancing the ball by oneself, as opposed to passing it to another player or shooting for the basket, it consists of bouncing the ball on the floor continuously with one hand while walking or running down the court. James Naismith's original rules said nothing about dribbling stating that passing the ball was the legal way of advancing it.
Players soon developed the strategy of "passing to themselves", which Naismith himself both endorsed and admired for its ingenuity, which evolved into the dribble as it is known today. The first known team to dribble was Yale University in 1897; the dribble allows for much faster advancement and thus more opportunities for scoring. It provides an opportunity for a crafty player on the opposing team to "steal" the ball in mid-bounce. Once a player stops dribbling the ball and holds it, the player must either pass it to another player or take a shot. A "double dribble" may be called if the player tries to dribble with both hands at the same time. Dribbling should be done with finger pads and the fingers should be relaxed and spread, The wrist should be pushing the basketball, the forearm should be moving up and down. Skilled ball handlers bounce the ball low to the ground, reducing the risk of a defender reaching in to steal the ball. Adept dribblers can dribble behind their backs, between their legs and change the speed of the dribble, making the player difficult to defend, opening up options to pass, shoot or drive with the ball.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches was founded in 1927 to oppose a move to eliminate dribbling from the sport. In water polo, dribbling is the technique of moving the ball while swimming forward; the ball is propelled ahead of the player with the wake created by alternating armstrokes, accompanied by occasional nudges using the nose or forehead. Since ball contact is minimal, this creates advantage for the ball carrier advancing the ball. Using short, rapid arm st
Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as the greatest player of all time, Messi has won a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, four of which he won consecutively, a record five European Golden Shoes, he has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won a club-record 32 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey. Both a prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga and in Europe's top-five leagues, a La Liga season and club league season in Europe, a club football season in Europe, most official goals in a calendar year, El Clásico, most hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League, as well as those for most assists in La Liga and the Copa América, he has scored over 685 senior career goals for country.
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona. After a fast progression through Barcelona's youth academy, Messi made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004. Despite being injury-prone during his early career, he established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, finishing 2007 as a finalist for both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award, a feat he repeated the following year, his first uninterrupted campaign came in the 2008–09 season, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football. At 22 years old, Messi won the 2009 Ballon d'Or and the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year award by record voting margins. Three successful seasons followed, with Messi winning three consecutive FIFA Ballons d'Or, including an unprecedented fourth. During the 2011–12 season, he set the La Liga and European records for most goals scored in a single season, while establishing himself as Barcelona's all-time top scorer in official competitions in March 2012.
The following two seasons, Messi finished twice second for the Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, his perceived career rival. Messi regained his best form during the 2014–15 campaign, breaking the all-time goalscoring records in both La Liga and the Champions League in November 2014, leading Barcelona to a historic second treble. An Argentine international, Messi is his country's all-time leading goalscorer. At youth level, he won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, finishing the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics, his style of play as a diminutive, left-footed dribbler drew comparisons with compatriot Diego Maradona, who declared the teenager his successor. After making his senior debut in August 2005, Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup during the 2006 edition, reached the final of the 2007 Copa América, where he was named young player of the tournament; as the squad's captain from August 2011, he led Argentina to three consecutive finals: the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball, the 2015 and 2016 Copas América.
After announcing his international retirement in 2016, he reversed his decision and led his country to qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Lionel Andrés Messi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, the third of four children of Jorge Messi, a steel factory manager, his wife Celia Cuccittini, who worked in a magnet manufacturing workshop. On his father's side, he is of Italian and Spanish descent, the great-grandson of immigrants from the northcentral Adriatic Marche region of Italy and Catalonia, on his mother's side, he has Italian ancestry. Growing up in a tight-knit, football-loving family, "Leo" developed a passion for the sport from an early age, playing with his older brothers and Matías, his cousins and Emanuel Biancucchi, both of whom became professional footballers. At the age of four he joined local club Grandoli, where he was coached by his father, though his earliest influence as a player came from his maternal grandmother, who accompanied him to training and matches, he was affected by her death, shortly before his eleventh birthday.
A lifelong supporter of Newell's Old Boys, Messi joined the Rosario club. During the six years he played for Newell's, he scored 500 goals as a member of "The Machine of'87", the near-unbeatable youth side named for the year of their birth, entertained crowds by performing ball tricks during half-time of the first team's home games. However, his future as a professional player was threatened when, at age 10, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency; as his father's health insurance covered only two years of growth hormone treatment, which cost at least $1,000 per month, Newell's agreed to contribute, but reneged on their promise. He was scouted by Buenos Aires club River Plate, whose playmaker, Pablo Aimar, he idolised, but they were unable to pay for his treatment due to the country's economic collapse, his goalscoring idol growing up was Ronaldo, with Messi calling him “the best forward I’ve seen”. As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona in September 2000.
First team director Charly Rexach wanted to sign him, but the board of directors hesi