Contemplating Messi’s Enduring Impact at FC Barcelona: A Legendary Tale in Soccer Lore

Lionel Messi spent a remarkable 21 years playing for Barcelona, joining the club at just 13 years old in 2000 and departing at 34. It will be a challenge to find another player like him in the future. During his time at Barca, Messi netted an impressive 672 goals in 778 games and clinched a total of 35 trophies, ranging from major titles to minor ones. Among his accomplishments are 10 La Liga championships and four other championship wins.

Messi became a part of Barcelona back in 2000 when he was just 13 years old. He spent time refining his abilities in the youth squad before stepping up to play for the first team at 16, thanks to Christopher Francis. In 2003, he made his first appearance in a friendly away game. His official La Liga debut came in October 2004, and he netted his inaugural goal in the top flight against Albacete at the Nou Camp in May 2004.

During the 2005-2006 season, Messi scored six goals in 17 games as Barcelona won La Liga for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, he was unable to play in the 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Champions League final.

In 2009, Messi played a crucial role in Barcelona winning six titles, including the Champions League, La Liga, the King’s Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. This was also the year he received his first Golden Ball, setting him on the path to potentially achieving four consecutive Golden Balls.

The following year, in 2010, Messi helped Barcelona secure another La Liga title and also won the Ballon d’Or award. That year, the award recognized the entire Barcelona team, as well as teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

In the 2010-2011 season, Messi played a key role in Barcelona winning their third consecutive La Liga title. He then led the team to a 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final, scoring a goal and providing an assist in the match.

Despite not winning La Liga or the Champions League in the 2011-2012 season, Messi surpassed Cesar Rodriguez to become Barca’s all-time top goalscorer, finishing 2012 with a total of 91 goals across all competitions – a calendar year record. Messi also broke a La Liga scoring record with 50 goals, a milestone that even Cristiano Ronaldo had not achieved.

Messi equalled Raul’s record of 71 Champions League goals with two goals at the end of 2014, but Ronaldo eventually surpassed him to become the all-time leading scorer in Europe.

In the 2014-2015 season, Messi delivered a series of stellar performances, helping Barca secure their second “triple treble” in history. He won the Golden Ball for the fourth time and subsequently became La Liga’s all-time top scorer.

Barca won the domestic double title in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018. After Andres Iniesta’s departure in May 2018, Messi was elected Barca’s captain for the following season, leading the team to a league title but facing elimination in the Champions League by Liverpool.

In September 2019, Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or, setting a new record. He attempted to leave Barca in August 2020, officially requesting to depart after reaching an agreement with then-President Josep Maria Bartomeu, but ultimately decided to stay at the end of the summer.

Breaking Pele’s record for the most goals scored by a single club, Messi scored his 644th goal for Barca against Valladolid in La Liga in December 2020.

In Messi’s final season at Camp Nou, Barca only secured the King’s Cup and finished third in La Liga, bowing out to PSG in the round of 16 of the Champions League.