Lionel Messi has always been a phenomenally talented footballer.
We’ve all seen the grainy footage showing a tiny Messi dribbling past multiple opponents before scoring goals when he was a kid growing up in Rosario, Argentina.
Messi’s style of play hasn’t changed much over the past 25 years. He still dribbles past opponents for fun and scores goals at will.
Messi was picked up by Newell’s Old Boys in 1994 when he was just six years old.
He then remained with Newell’s, the club he still supports today, until 2000.
Messi then moved to Barcelona at the tender age of 13 and, well, the rest is history.
He is now widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time and has won just about every major honour - team and individual - you can think of.
The one trophy which has eluded him is the World Cup. He came agonisingly close to lifting football’s most prestigious piece of silverware in 2014. The 33-year-old’s final chance to win it might be in Qatar in 2022.
Messi has scored a ridiculous number of goals during his illustrious career - 634 for Barcelona, plus 70 more for Argentina - but how many did he net during his spell with Newell’s?
The exact numbers have never been known. Until now, that is…
Miguel Martínez, who was the press officer for the Asociación Rosarina de Fútbol, carefully analysed the records of every match Messi played in between the ages of six and 12.
And Argentine publication Ole have published the findings…
1994: In his first year at Newell’s, six-year-old Messi netted 40 goals in just 29 games.
1995: The following year, he scored 35 goals in 30 games.
1996: At the age of eight, Messi played 27 games and found the net 36 times.
1997: Then, aged nine, he bagged 40 goals in 36 games.
1998: He played fewer games aged 10 - the records don’t state why - but he still managed to average more than one goal every game, netting 27 in 25 appearances.
1999: But his final year was by far his most prolific. Messi, aged 11, scored a magnificent 55 goals in 29 games as Newell’s ended the season undefeated, winning 26 and drawing three of their fixtures.
In total, Messi scored 234 goals in 176 matches for Newell’s.
It was patently clear from a very early age that Messi was destined for greatness.
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