Lionel Messi was showing his class from as young as eight-years-old.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was always destined for greatness, and at just eight years of age, he possessed a first touch that most footballers would be envious of.
Messi rises through the ranks at Barcelona
A product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, Lionel Messi burst onto the scene at Barcelona. Messi made his debut aged just 16 against Jose Mourinho’s Porto.
He enjoyed an illustrious Barcelona career. The Argentine won La Liga an incredible ten times and the Champions League on four occasions at the Camp Nou.
But before he joined the Spanish giants, it seems that Messi already had world-class abilities.
Rare footage has emerged of eight-year-old Lionel Messi playing in a youth tournament for Newell’s Old Boys.
In the footage, Messi takes on more than three players before firing into the goalkeeper’s arms. Then in the following clip, the No.10 magician brings the ball down beautifully before firing into the far corner of the goal.
This finish is a mirror image of the sort of goals we have come to expect from the Argentine in his senior career.
Later in the clip, we see Messi dance past his opponents at will. This, again, is something we have seen regularly over his professional career.
Finally, Newell’s Old Boys score again. The eight-year-old Argentine drives through and lays the ball off for his teammate to slot home. Messi was assisting from a young age.
Messi moves to PSG
Last summer, Messi made the switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. It was revealed that the Catalans could not afford to pay him.
The Argentine reunited with Neymar at the Parc des Princes. The duo enjoyed a wonderful time together in Barcelona, and fans were excited about what the pair could achieve alongside French superstar Kylian Mbappe.
A mixed first season
Messi’s first season in France didn’t go to plan. Despite being a proven goalscorer, the 34-year-old has only managed 11 goals in 33 appearances for the French champions this term.
Real Madrid knocked PSG out of the Champions League in the quarter-final, dashing hopes that Messi’s arrival could prompt a first UCL title for the Parisians.
However, PSG did win Ligue 1 by a considerable margin. Messi provided the second-most assists in the league with 13. He also played five fewer matches than top assister Mbappe.
Ballon d’Or number seven
Messi was awarded his seventh Ballon d’Or last year.
The Argentine scored a combined 40 goals at club and international levels in 2021 and won the Copa America with his homeland, earning him this award.
Messi’s success is unquestionable. As the footage of him as a youngster shows, he was always going to be one of football’s greats.
Featured image credit: Getty