Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi (born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and captains the Argentina national team, mainly as a striker. Messi received several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21, and won in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Lionel Messi playing style and small stature has drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi as his "successor."
Lionel Messi was the top scorer of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with six goals, including two in the final game. Shortly thereafter, he became an established member of Argentina's senior international team. In 2006, Lionel Messi became the youngest Argentine to play in the FIFA World Cup and he won a runners-up medal at the Copa América tournament the following year. In 2008, in Beijing, he won his first international honour, an Olympic gold medal, with the Argentina Olympic football team. At international level Lionel Messi has scored 19 goals in 66 games.
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