Lionel Messi Biography – Childhood, Parents, Family [2024]

This article, a deep-dive into Lionel Messi’s Biography, provides an insightful overview of his childhood days to his rise to global fame, his early years, Parents – father, Jorge Horacio Messi; mother, Celia María Cuccittini, Siblings –  Rodrigo and Matias (brothers), sister, Maria Sol Messi.

Our Lionel Messi Biography brings to light the story of his life, capturing details from his childhood days to his rise to global fame.

We chart the pivotal moments in Messi’s life, offering you a rich narrative of his journey from a young boy to a football icon.

Here is a visual summary, a snapshot of Lionel Messi’s life, encapsulating his journey from a tender age to his ascent into the pantheon of football greats.

Fans often debate over who deserves the title of the greatest of all time (GOAT) in football, frequently comparing Messi with the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite his storied career, many enthusiasts have yet to explore a condensed biography of Lionel Messi. We have meticulously prepared just that for you. Now, let’s delve into the life of the football maestro.

The Beginning of Lionel Messi’s Story:

Known affectionately as the GOAT in football circles, Lionel Messi, the son of Jorge and Celia was born on June 24th in the year 1987. His birthplace is the bustling city of Rosario, Argentina, where he was welcomed into the world by his mother, Celia María Cuccittini, and father, Jorge Horacio Messi.

Lionel is the third child among four siblings in the Messi household. His father managed a steel factory while his mother contributed to the family income through employment at a magnet manufacturing workshop.

Messi’s childhood unfolded in Rosario, the principal city of the Santa Fe province in central Argentina. Here, he nurtured his passion for football, spending much of his time with his three siblings.

His family tree includes his oldest brother Rodrigo, his second older brother Matias, and his beloved younger sister, Maria Sol Messi.

Lionel Messi Family Background:

Lionel Messi’s familial roots are deeply embedded in a home that cherished the game of football. His parents, Jorge and Celia María, experienced the harsh economic realities of the late 1980s, a period marked by financial hardship in Argentina.

Just a few years after Messi’s birth, Argentina faced a dire economic situation, teetering on the edge of collapse due to the nation’s debt crisis.

This led to severe hyperinflation, a sharp devaluation of the Argentine Peso, and widespread social unrest. Messi’s family, like many others in the middle-class segment of Argentine society, were significantly affected by this turmoil, facing employment challenges along with an estimated three million fellow Argentines.

Tracing Lionel Messi’s Ancestry:

Lionel Messi’s ancestry reveals a predominantly European heritage. He is affectionately known as the ‘Atomic Flea,’ a nickname that belies the fact that his familial origins span across continents, but not primarily from Argentina.

On his father’s side, Messi’s lineage is a blend of Italian and Spanish bloodlines. His paternal grandparents, Rosa Maria Pérez and Eusebio Messi, emigrated to Argentina, bringing with them their heritage from Italy’s Adriatic Marche region and the cultural-rich lands of Catalonia.

From his mother’s lineage, Messi inherits purely Italian roots, courtesy of his maternal grandparents, Antonio and Celia Oliveira Cuccittini, who also made the voyage to Argentina, further enriching the future football star’s European ties.

Lionel Messi’s Football Journey: From Early Beginnings to Stardom

Immersed in a family with a fervent love for football, Lionel Messi, affectionately dubbed “La Pulga” due to his small yet swift nature, showed a deep passion for the sport early on. His boyhood years were marked by many countless hours spent playing football with his elder brothers, Rodrigo and Matías, as well as his cousins Maximiliano and Emanuel Biancucchi, both of whom would later forge their own paths in professional football.

The Discovery of Messi’s Gift:

Messi’s affinity for the beautiful game was evident when he was just four years old. His grandmother, Celia Oliveira Cuccittini, recognized a preternatural talent in him that surpassed the early teachings of his brothers. Celia became the driving force behind his nascent football journey, convinced that young Lionel was destined for greatness.

Celia Oliveira Cuccittini not only encouraged Messi’s ambition but also became instrumental in his developmental years. She ensured he attended his first football training sessions with Grandoli, a local club, and even prompted his parents to invest in his first football boots. Her belief in him was profound, often cheering him on with prophetic confidence that he was meant to be the world’s greatest football player.

The Moment of Discovery at Grandoli:

A pivotal moment unfolded during a match attended by Messi’s family, where Lionel, usually sidelined to watch his older siblings play, found an unexpected opportunity. The team was short of a player, and the coach, Salvador Aparicio, invited a young, unassuming Messi to fill the gap and play alongside older, larger boys.

Initially hesitant, Messi’s parents encouraged him to seize the moment. Once on the pitch, his initial timidity quickly dissolved. On his second touch of the ball, he mesmerized onlookers by weaving through his opponents with ease, showcasing an innate talent for dribbling that left even his own brothers in his wake.

This display of raw skill secured Messi’s place on Salvador Aparicio’s team. Under the tutelage of his first coach, Messi became a pivotal figure in the team’s triumphs, culminating in his first taste of silverware — a trophy that heralded the start of an extraordinary football saga for the boy who would become known as the Atomic Flea.

Lionel Messi’s Beginnings at Newell’s Old Boys:

Lionel Messi, from his earliest days at Newell’s Old Boys, was often spoken of as possessing almost magical football talent. Recognizing his extraordinary abilities, his first coach, Aparicio, pledged to help transition Messi to a premier academy to realize his immense potential.

During these formative years, Lionel’s father, Jorge, stepped up to train his son, not only to foster his burgeoning skills but also to offer fatherly guidance and support. As fervent fans of Newell’s Old Boys, Messi’s entire family rallied behind him, and he became part of the club from his hometown of Rosario at the age of six.

However, as Lionel was finding his footing at Newell’s, he faced a personal setback: the death of his grandmother Celia Oliveira Cuccittini, the very person who first recognized his potential in football.

The Impact of His Grandmother’s Passing:

The loss of his grandmother was a difficult emotional burden for young Messi. Celia had been instrumental in encouraging his initial steps onto the football field. To honor her memory and her belief in his destiny, Messi began his poignant goal celebration, looking and pointing to the heavens as a gesture of remembrance and gratitude.

Throughout his six-year spell at Newell’s, Messi’s goal tally was nothing short of extraordinary, scoring close to 500 goals. He was an integral part of an exceptional youth team, affectionately dubbed “The Machine of ‘87” after their birth year, known for their dominance on the field and their entertaining ball tricks that wowed spectators during half-time at senior team matches.

The unity and spirit of “The Machine of ‘87” endures to this day. The team members remain connected, sharing a WhatsApp group where Messi is seen as the inspirational figure he has always been, reflecting the leadership and camaraderie that began on the pitches of their youth.

Lionel Messi’s Growth Hormone Deficiency:

The period following the death of his beloved grandmother was challenging for Lionel Messi in more ways than one. His physical growth had inexplicably stalled, causing concern among his family and coaches at Newell’s Old Boys. He was noticeably smaller than his peers, a difference that became increasingly pronounced as they grew taller.

It wasn’t long before medical professionals identified the root of the issue: Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, a condition hindering his growth. The cost of treatment was prohibitive; the growth hormone therapy required was expensive, with estimates of about $1,000 per month, and Jorge Messi’s insurance would only cover a fraction of the costs for a limited two-year period.

Newell’s initial commitment to financially support Messi’s treatment unfortunately fell through, leaving the family in a precarious position.

At this critical juncture, Messi’s paternal grandparents, Eusebio and Rosa, who resided in Catalonia, intervened. They sought to find a solution and ultimately played a pivotal role in facilitating their grandson’s treatment through FC Barcelona.

Lionel Messi’s Journey to FC Barcelona:

The efforts of Messi’s grandparents to secure a future for him at FC Barcelona were driven by their belief in his extraordinary talent, which they likened to that of the great Diego Maradona.

Initially, the club’s director, Charly Rexach, was eager to bring Messi into Barça’s fold, but was met with resistance from the board, partly because of regulations that restricted the signing of young players from outside the European Union.

The Napkin Contract:

The turning point came with a bold gesture on 14 December 2000. Facing an ultimatum from Newell’s Old Boys, which threatened to withdraw Messi from consideration if Barcelona didn’t act promptly, Rexach found himself under pressure to formalize an agreement without delay. In the absence of official paperwork and racing against time, Rexach resorted to writing Messi’s contract on a napkin, a makeshift yet momentous document that marked the beginning of Lionel Messi’s path to football stardom with FC Barcelona.

Relocation to Spain and Initial Challenges:

In February 2001, Lionel Messi’s family made the momentous decision to relocate from Argentina to Spain. They settled into an apartment within the vicinity of Barcelona’s famed Camp Nou stadium. However, Messi’s integration into his new environment was fraught with challenges.

Due to a contentious transfer disagreement between his Argentine club, Newell’s Old Boys, and FC Barcelona, Messi was relegated to participating only in friendly matches and the local Catalan league during his first year. This limited exposure to competitive play made it difficult for him to fully integrate into the team.

Moreover, Messi’s naturally introverted disposition led many of his teammates to mistake him for a recluse, as he seldom spoke and kept to himself.

As his family members began to return to Argentina, leaving only Lionel and his father in Spain, the young talent faced the emotional turmoil of homesickness. His mother and siblings moved back to Rosario, which heightened his sense of isolation.

It was not until February 2002 that Messi received clearance to join the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and participate fully in all its competitions. Through his involvement, he was able to forge friendships with fellow teammates, notably Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué, which aided his social and professional integration into the sport in Spain.

End of Medical Treatment and Decision to Stay with Barcelona:

Messi concluded his growth hormone treatments at the age of 14. His football skills began to flourish, and he quickly became a standout player in Barcelona’s esteemed youth academy, often referred to as the “Baby Dream Team.”

Around this time, Messi was also presented with an opportunity to move to Arsenal. However, despite his friends Fàbregas and Piqué moving to England to join Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, Messi made the pivotal decision to stay with Barcelona.

Rise to Prominence and International Recognition:

Messi’s talent was recognized on the world stage in 2005 when he made an indelible impression at the FIFA World Youth Championship. His extraordinary performance earned him the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards. The crowning achievement of this period was helping Argentina win the gold medal at the Olympics, an early indication of the remarkable legacy he would go on to build in the world of football.

Rising Through Barcelona’s Ranks and Establishing Dominance:

Lionel Messi’s ascendancy within the ranks of FC Barcelona was meteoric. Under the guidance of then-coach Frank Rijkaard, Messi began to make regular appearances with the senior team, showcasing his burgeoning talent. It was during this period that he formed a close bond with Ronaldinho, the Brazilian icon, who took Messi under his wing, affectionately referring to him as “little brother,” which greatly facilitated his integration among other football heavyweights like Samuel Eto’o.

Messi’s debut for Barcelona’s first team came during a friendly against a side managed by José Mourinho, FC Porto. His performance during this match caught the attention of the football world, earning him laudatory reviews from both journalists and fans. This marked the beginning of a series of triumphs that would lead him to accumulate over 34 trophies with the Catalan club.

Messi’s brilliance on the field has been recognized multiple times, as evidenced by his record six World Player of the Year awards. Partnering with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, the great Neymar Jr and Luis Suarez, his extraordinary accomplishments, memorable performances, a myriad of titles, and sheer goal-scoring prowess have solidified his reputation as the greatest of all time (GOAT) in football. Alongside Alexia Putellas, he is celebrated for holding the most Ballon d’Or awards while donning a Barcelona jersey.

Indeed, Messi’s legacy in football is irreplaceable, and his story is etched in history.

The Love Story of Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo:

Messi’s romantic journey with Antonela Roccuzzo reads like a fairytale, rooted in their shared childhood in Rosario. Their paths crossed through Lionel’s friend and Antonela’s cousin, Lucas Scaglia, who also pursued a career in football.

It was on the sandy stretches of Rosario Beach in 1992 that Messi first encountered the one who would become his future partner. Even at such a tender age, there was an undeniable connection between them, leading to a childhood promise of future companionship.

Messi, ever the romantic even at nine years old, penned a letter to eight-year-old Antonela, boldly declaring his affections with the words, “One day, you and I will be boyfriend and girlfriend.” This innocent proclamation would eventually manifest into a lifelong bond.

The Untold Chapter of Antonela Roccuzzo’s Early Relationship:

Despite widespread belief, Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo weren’t uninterrupted childhood sweethearts—distance once came between them. During Messi’s treatment for his growth hormone deficiency in Spain, their connection was severed. As Messi’s family relocated to Spain for his treatment and football career, the distance strained their relationship to the point of breaking.

During this time apart, Antonela began a relationship with another young man back in Rosario. However, after seven years in Spain, Messi reached out to rekindle the romance with his erstwhile companion, Antonela, who by then had ended her interim relationship.

Messi and Antonela’s love story truly reignited in 2007, marking the beginning of a more serious and committed relationship. Antonela’s former boyfriend, left in the wake of their rekindled romance, addressed his feelings in a remarkably sportsmanlike manner, expressing to a local newspaper that he was glad she left him for someone as exceptional as Messi.

In 2017, Messi and Antonela’s relationship culminated in a grand wedding in Rosario, attended by their closest 260 relatives and friends. Now parents to three sons—Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro—Messi’s life epitomizes that of a devoted family man.

Lionel Messi’s Personal Haven:

Far removed from the clamor of fame, Messi is a person of sensitivity and a lover of tranquility. Lionel Messi’s website is Preferring the stillness of nature, he resides in a forested enclave away from Barcelona’s hustle and bustle. In pursuit of peace, he has gone to great lengths, including purchasing the properties surrounding his home to prevent noise intrusion, as disclosed by his former teammate Ivan Rakitic.

In an exceptional move underlining his need for serenity, Messi engaged in a dispute with Barcelona-El Prat airport to reroute their flight paths to preserve the quietude of his siestas, preventing aircraft from disrupting the calm above his residence—a unique arrangement not afforded to any other location.

Lastly, Messi’s zodiac sign is Cancer, a trait he shares with other footballers such as Federico Valverde, a Uruguayan midfielder; Mikel Merino, & Alex Baena (Spanish midfielders); Jarrad Branthwaite, an English defender; Son Heung-min, a South Korean winger; Vinicius Junior, a Brazilian winger; and Lamine Yamal, a Spanish winger. Typically, individuals born under the Cancer sign are recognized for their strong intuition and imaginative dreaming. They are often generous and protective, especially when it comes to their families, among other traits.

Lifestyle Overview:

Off the soccer field, Lionel Messi is known for his devotion to his family. He exemplifies a modest and private lifestyle, favoring quiet moments at home with his wife, children, and beloved dog. Messi’s investments reflect his earnings, with significant expenditures on real estate and a collection of luxury vehicles.

Among Messi’s impressive fleet of cars are an Audi Q7 priced at approximately €69,000, a Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti with an estimated value of €32 million, and a Maserati GranTurismo costing around €90,000.

Family Roots and Bonds:

Despite his global fame, Messi’s heart remains tied to Rosario, his Argentinian hometown. He has preserved his local accent as a badge of his roots and holds onto his family’s old homes, symbolizing his humble origins and sentimental values.

Delving into Messi’s Family:

Jorge Horácio Messi, Lionel’s father, originally managed a steel factory when Messi was a child. With a vision for his son’s talent, he transitioned from his job to coaching Messi at just four years old at their local club, Grandoli.

Over the years, Jorge Horácio has been a constant support to his son, navigating his career from grassroots to global stardom. Today, he serves as Lionel Messi’s agent, a role he has adeptly managed for many years.

During a tumultuous period following the appointment of Ronald Koeman at FC Barcelona, it was Jorge who counseled Lionel to remain with the club to avoid legal conflicts.

Managing his son’s professional affairs is just one aspect of Jorge Horácio’s life; he is also noted to be divorced from Lionel’s mother, Celia Cuccittini.

Lionel Messi’s Maternal Figure:

Celia María Cuccittini, Lionel Messi’s mother, was once employed as a cleaner working part-time. In the current day, she dedicates herself to overseeing her son’s personal commitments and spearheading the Messi family’s philanthropic foundation.

Messi shares a profound bond with his mother, as evidenced by the tattoo of her likeness on his left shoulder, a permanent tribute to their relationship.

Controversy at Messi’s Wedding:

Celia María sparked a dispute when she attended her son’s wedding clad in a white dress, traditionally reserved for the bride, in this case, Antonella Roccuzzo. Such an action is considered a serious breach of wedding etiquette in Argentine culture.

Despite the dress code for the event being explicitly coloured, Celia María’s choice to wear white caused a rift, resulting in a period of non-communication between the families of Antonella Roccuzzo and Lionel Messi.

Rodrigo Messi, The Eldest Brother:

Rodrigo Messi, born on February 10, 1980, stands as the oldest of the Messi siblings, 8 years senior to Lionel. He is involved in overseeing portions of Lionel’s business affairs, specifically handling his schedule and publicity matters.

Matias Messi, The Second Eldest:

Matias Messi, also born on February 10, 1980, shares his brother Rodrigo’s birthdate and plays a role in managing the Messi Foundation alongside their mother, Celia María.

Furthermore, has had his share of public scrutiny, having been convicted in 2016 for illegal possession of a firearm. His sentence was community service, specifically teaching football in their hometown for one year.

Maria Sol Messi, The Youngest Sister:

Maria Sol is the youngest sibling and only sister in the Messi family. She was doted on by her brothers growing up and manages a retail store associated with Lionel Messi.

One notable familial event was when Lionel surprised her by dancing at her fifteenth birthday celebration, a rare sight for the usually reserved football star.

Messi’s Extended Family Ties:

Genealogy studies, such as the one by Diari Segre in 2011, have revealed an interesting family connection; Bojan Krkić, Messi’s former teammate, is his fourth cousin. Other cousins include professional footballers Emanuel Biancucchi and Maxi Biancucchi.

Messi’s family circle also comprises Aunts Marcela Cuccittini Biancucchi, Gladis Messi, and Susanna Messi, as well as nephews Augustine Messi, Morena Messi, Benjamin Messi, and Thomas Messi, expanding the family tree within the world of football.

Lionel Messi’s Ancestry:

On his father’s side, Lionel Messi’s grandparents are Rosa Maria Pérez, his paternal grandmother, and Eusebio Messi, his paternal grandfather.

His maternal lineage includes Antonio Cuccittini as his maternal grandfather and Celia Oliveira Cuccittini as his maternal grandmother.

Great Grandparents of Lionel Messi:

Tracing further back, the family tree on his mother’s side features Jose Perez Sole as Messi’s great grandfather. On the paternal side, Aniceto Messi stands as his great grandfather, the patriarch who was Eusebio Messi’s father (Jorge Messi’s father). Aniceto was married to Rosa Perez, who is Lionel Messi’s great grandmother.

Insights into Lionel Messi:

In concluding this narrative, let’s delve into lesser-known aspects of Messi’s life, offering a clearer perspective on the soccer maestro.

Income Facts:

It is a startling fact that an average Spanish citizen with an annual income of €23,000 would have to work non-stop for three and a half years to earn what Messi does in a single day. Studies indicate that in the previous two seasons, his annual pre-tax earnings at Paris Saint-Germain were approximately $70 million. In the 2023/2024 season, Lionel Messi was said to receive a base salary of $12 million and an additional $20.4 million in guaranteed compensation, positioning him as the top earner in Major League Soccer. Lastly, Messi’s Forbes profile reveals he was the second World’s Highest-Paid Athlete in 2023.

Lionel Messi’s Tattoo Significance:

The portrait of his mother, Celia, graces his left shoulder blade, signifying the special place she holds in his heart. An arm tattoo featuring a lotus flower symbolizes Messi’s journey from humble origins to international stardom, representing the possibility of greatness emerging from adversity. On his left leg, the imprint of his son Thiago’s hands is inked, accompanied by Thiago’s name and the iconic jersey number ’10’ that Messi adorns. The right leg, just above the ankle, bears the inscribed names and birthdates of his three sons: Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro, marking his everlasting devotion to his children.

Lionel Messi’s Spiritual Beliefs:

Inked near his shoulder is a depiction of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, a personal testament to Messi’s faith. This artwork suggests that he was brought up in the Christian tradition, which he continues to observe.

Nicknames of Lionel Messi:

Lionel Messi, known as “La Pulga” in Spanish, has earned this nickname due to his remarkable agility and ability to ‘bug’ defenders, much like a flea does, especially noting his relatively short stature. “The Greatest Of All Time” or simply “GOAT” is another title bestowed upon Messi by fans who believe his skills and accomplishments place him at the very summit of football’s history. “La Pulga Atómica,” translating to “The Atomic Flea,” is a spin on his original nickname, emphasizing his explosive speed and agility which allow him to navigate through defenders with ease.

Lionel Messi’s Pet Dog:

In 2016, Messi’s partner, Antonela Roccuzzo, gifted him a Dogue de Bordeaux named Hulk, a breed renowned for its large and muscular stature. Over the course of three years, Hulk grew to become a sizable and strong pet, reflecting the physicality of his name. Messi shares his preference for large dog breeds with the Portuguese footballer William Carvalho.

Areas for Improvement in Lionel Messi’s Game:

Even as one of the most celebrated players in football, Lionel Messi’s game isn’t flawless. Throughout his career, it has been noted that he could improve in areas such as defensive aggression and intercepting the ball.

Closing Reflections:

Lionel Messi’s ascent from a young boy facing health challenges to a global football icon is a compelling narrative of perseverance and the pursuit of excellence. His story underscores the importance of persistence through adversity, exemplified by his family’s commitment, especially during his battle with a growth hormone deficiency.

His father, Jorge Horácio, played a pivotal role in his development, while his brothers, Rodrigo and Matias, were early football influences. Messi’s sister, Maria Sol, alongside his mother, Celia María Cuccittini, have also made sacrifices for his success.

Messi’s partner, Antonela Roccuzzo, has been a pillar of support, helping him build a family with their three sons and their dog, Hulk. As of the last biography update, Messi celebrated a notable triumph with Argentina, capturing the 2021 COPA America title and securing a top scorer position alongside Luis Diaz.

Thank you for your attention to Lionel Messi’s biography. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to share your thoughts on the football legend, please leave a comment. Keep an eye on our website for more captivating stories about soccer players. You won’t want to miss our upcoming articles on Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez, which are sure to intrigue you.

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