Quiz! Can you name the Barcelona XI from Lionel Messi's debut at Espanyol in 2004?

Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona against Espanyol in 2006.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eight minutes on the clock, 11 players to guess!

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It all started on October 16th, 2004. A 17-year-old Lionel Messi came off the bench for the last eight minutes of a Catalan derby at Montjuic in La Liga to make his Barcelona debut. And the rest, as they say, is history!

The Argentine attacker went on to play 778 official games for Barça and scored an incredible 672 goals in that time, leading the Blaugrana to 34 trophies along the way before his departure in 2021.

Frank Rijkaard was the coach and back then, Barcelona were without a trophy since 1999. But their fortunes were about to change as they went on to win La Liga for the next two seasons in what was the start of a very special era for the Catalan club.

On the bench that day, Messi was joined by some less-familiar names. Goalkeeper Ruben Martinez, defenders Fernando Navarro and Carlos Peña, right-back Damia Abella and left winger Cristian Hidalgo will not be remembered by many.

Andres Iniesta was the other substitute at Montjuic, where Barça are currently playing their home games as Camp Nou is renovated, and the midfielder made it onto the pitch along with Messi in the team's 1-0 win.


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Ben Hayward
Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is the Weekend Editor of FourFourTwo. A European football writer and Tottenham Hotspur fan with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa America - and has spent much of that time in Spain. Ben speaks English and Spanish, currently dividing his time between Barcelona and London, covering all the big talking points of the weekend on FFT: he’s also written several list features and interviewed Guglielmo Vicario for the magazine.