after his senior debut in august 2005, messi became the youngest argentine to play and score in a fifa world cup during the 2006 edition, and reached the final of the 2007 copa américa, where he was named young player of the tournament. during his first year in spain, messi rarely played with the infantiles due to a transfer conflict with newell’s; as a foreigner, he could only be fielded in friendlies and the catalan league. a week after suffering a broken cheekbone during a league match, messi was allowed to start the game on the condition that he wear a plastic protector; soon hindered by the mask, he took it off and scored two goals in 10 minutes before his substitution. he finished the campaign having scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals in all official competitions. messi worked to regain fitness in time for the champions league final, but on 17 may, the day of the final, he was eventually ruled out.  in his first uninterrupted campaign, the 2008–09 season, he scored 38 goals in 51 games, contributing alongside eto’o and winger thierry henry to a total of 100 goals in all competitions, a record at the time for the club.  this success was reflected in a new contract, signed on 18 september, which committed messi to the club through 2016 with a new buyout clause of €250 million, while his salary increased to €12 million. in addition to his 31 goals, messi was also the league’s top assist provider with 18.  at the close of the year, messi had scored a record 91 goals in all competitions for barcelona and argentina.  messi finished the campaign with his worst output in five seasons, though he still managed to score 41 goals in all competitions. his opening goal was hailed as one of the greatest in his career; he collected the ball near the halfway line and beat four opposing players, before feinting the goalkeeper to score in a tight space by the near post.  on 11 january 2016, messi won the fifa ballon d’or for a record fifth time in his career.  in his next league match, on 14 january, messi scored in a 5–0 win against las palmas; with this goal, he equalled raúl’s record for the most number of teams scored against in la liga (35).  on 9 september, messi scored his first hat-trick of the 2017–18 league campaign, against espanyol in derbi barceloní, thus helping to secure a 5–0 home victory for blaugrana over local rivals.  on 23 february, messi scored the 50th hat-trick of his career and also provided an assist for suárez, as he helped barcelona come from behind to achieve a 4–2 away victory over sevilla in la liga; the goal was also his 650th career goal for club and country at senior level.  on 25 may, messi scored his final goal of the season in a 2–1 defeat to valencia in the 2019 copa del rey final.
 on 14 june, in a 4–0 away win against mallorca, messi assisted twice and scored another, becoming the first player ever in la liga to score 20 goals or more in 12 consecutive seasons.  messi started his first game in the next qualifying match against peru, in which he was able to win a crucial penalty that secured their victory. against the netherlands, he again scored the first goal and assisted a second strike to help his team to a 2–1 win in extra time.  although messi scored a record 53 goals during the 2010–11 club season, he had not scored for argentina in an official match since march 2009.  he scored twice in the last group match, a 3–2 victory over nigeria, his second goal from a free kick, as they finished first in their group.  during the opening match against paraguay, they were ahead two goals by half-time but lost their lead to end the match in a 2–2 draw; messi had scored from a penalty kick, netting his only goal in the tournament.  this record was broken three days later when messi scored a free kick in a 4–0 semi-final win against hosts the united states; he also assisted two goals during the match as argentina sealed a place in the final of the competition for a second consecutive year, and was named man of the match once again.  on 12 august, it was confirmed that messi had reversed his decision to retire from international football, and he was included in the squad for the national team’s upcoming 2018 world cup qualifiers.  with his two assists in his team’s second round fixture, messi became the first player to provide an assist in the last four world cups, and also became the first player to provide two assists in a match for argentina since diego maradona had managed the same feat against south korea in 1986.  tactically, messi plays in a free attacking role; a versatile player, he is capable of attacking on either wing or through the centre of the pitch.  four years later, after messi had won his first ballon d’or by a record margin, the public debate regarding his qualities as a player moved beyond his status in contemporary football to the possibility that he was one of the greatest players in history.  in 2018 he was the first player to exceed the €100m benchmark for a calendar year, with earnings of €126m ($154m) in combined income from salaries, bonuses and endorsements.  over time, messi established himself as their leading brand endorser; from 2008, he had a long-running signature collection of adidas f50 boots, and in 2015, he became the first footballer to receive his own sub-brand of adidas boots, the adidas messi.  he missed training ahead of a match against atlético madrid to attend the birth of his second son, mateo, on 11 september 2015 in barcelona.  messi has served as a unicef goodwill ambassador since his appointment in march 2010, completing his first field mission for the organisation four months later as he travelled to haiti to bring public awareness to the plight of the country’s children in the wake of the recent earthquake.  it was established in 2007 following a visit messi paid to a hospital for terminally ill children in boston, an experience that resonated with him to the point that he decided to reinvest part of his earnings into society.
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