Interviews

Lionel Messi: the 14 greatest moments of my career

Lionel Messi

From being "a little nervous" about his Barça debut, to the "perfect night" scoring his 500th goal to win El Clasico against Real Madrid, Messi talks FourFourTwo through the most iconic moments of a stellar career

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Espanyol 0-1 Barcelona

La Liga, October 16, 2004

I came on as a substitute for Deco against our local rivals Espanyol back in 2004. I was definitely a little nervous as I was about to come onto the field for my debut. It was a very important moment for me, something I’d desperately wanted for a long time, and I was maybe a bit impatient!

I already had the confidence from working with the coach, Frank Rijkaard, and all of the players. I’d been training with the staff and the team. That helped me to settle into the first team a little easier. It was a very special day for me – it was the dream I had always been hoping would eventually come true, although it feels like such a long time ago now.

Barcelona 7-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Champions League, last 16, March 7, 2012

What an incredible night! I’m not sure I could ever rank my goals over one another – I honestly don’t believe that any strike was prettier than the other.

I was just delighted to get five and, more importantly, that the team won so convincingly. I didn’t realise at the time that I was the first player to score five goals in a Champions League game. I just thought we had played very well as a team and was happy about that. Honestly, I prefer it when the team wins – it’s a team game and without the team I couldn’t do anything.

Nigeria 0-1 Argentina

Olympics, final, August 23, 2008

I have had a great friendship with Sergio Aguero for a long time. We used to spend lots of time together when we were young, particularly when we were both with the national team, playing FIFA. To be truthful, the trip to Beijing is one of the most beautiful memories in my career.

The Olympics are very important, not only for the opportunity to win a medal for your country, but also the experience of being able to take part in an amazing global event and live in the Olympic village with athletes from so many different sports.

It was incredible – a complete tournament for us. Yes, we won the semi-final 3-0 against Brazil – a great team who were also playing well – but we also overcame the Netherlands and Nigeria. Both were very hard games and we had to be at our best to win. We were very confident that we could claim the gold medal. Look at the team we had and the unity among the players. We thought from the start that we could win in Beijing and we were able to do it.

Barcelona 5-1 Sevilla

La Liga, November 22, 2014

It’s an amazing feeling to be the highest ever scorer in La Liga, a league with so many spectacular players in its history and players who have achieved so much. It’s a great accomplishment for me.

I didn’t have any kind of celebration planned for it – and I never think about what will happen after I’ve scored a goal. It’s best that the celebrations all come naturally, like the play on the field.

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina

World Cup, group stage, June 15, 2014

I’d had to wait eight years for my second World Cup goal. We wanted to have a great tournament and started off with a win against Bosnia, and I scored our second goal.

It all happened very quickly. I picked the ball up near the halfway line and tried to burst towards their penalty area. I played a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain and then shot from the edge of the box. Luckily it all came off.

We’d performed brilliantly in qualifying and sealed our place in Brazil with a couple of games to spare, then demonstrated that we were a great team by reaching the final. We didn’t quite manage to win the tournament, but we’d done everything we could.

The World Cup is very important for all of the people in Argentina and it would be a dream to win it with the national team one day.

Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich

Champions League, semi-final, May 6, 2015

As I approached [Jerome] Boateng, all I was thinking about was just trying to get past him to get close to the goal – no different to any other time, during any other match, that I’ve had the ball and an opponent has been in front of me.

I was really happy to score in such an important game, one that helped to put us through to another Champions League final. But it was only really when the comments started on social media that I realised how well we’d played. I read a lot of the comments and watched the videos.  

We had a spectacular coach in Luis Enrique and he helped us to win a very complicated match. We really got in the mood for that game and played at our best level, yet we were all still tranquil and calm.

Barcelona 2-0 Albacete

La Liga, May 1, 2005

My first Barça goal! I was still at the stage where I was just enjoying playing at the Camp Nou and being able to play in the first team with fantastic players. I wasn’t really thinking about scoring goals, but I knew if there was a chance for me to score, I wouldn’t be nervous.

Everything happened so fast. Ronaldinho flicked the ball over the defence and I chipped it over the keeper. It was a really nice moment, especially as the players – my new team-mates – came to celebrate it with me.