Barcelona Número 10
Full name Lionel Andrés Messi
Date of birth 24 June 1987 (age 26)
Place of birth Rosario, Argentina
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Forward
Strengths: His ball skills are second to none, his runs from midfield are usually lethal and he is almost impossible to tackle when he gets his head down. His balance when running at speed is incredible.
Weaknesses: Too often he searches for a way to finish moves by himself without looking for team-mates in a better position to shoot at goal.
Career high: Winning the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 World Player of the Year awards - the latter coming after he broke the record for goals in a calender year.
Career low: He was unable to perform to his best in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-finals with Messi looking on from the bench.
Style: Quick, incisive, balanced, a stylish runner with the ball.
Quotes: "Messi is my Maradona," said Maradona himself, as the head coach of the Argentine national team.
Trivia: His debut with the national team (against Hungary) was a disaster: he entered the game in the 18th minute of the second half, and 47 seconds later was sent off.