Happy 23rd Birthday Lionel Messi

Who wants a birthday hug? (Getty Images)
Usually we refrain from individual birthday congratulations, but in this case, we will make an exception. Today is MESSIah’s date of birth, so let’s celebrate. Mr. Messi has now been with FC Barcelona for 10 years and in that short time has gone from a boy needing growth hormone treatments to the greatest player on the face of the earth. His accomplishments are myriad, both with the blaugrana and the Albiceleste, and he has gone on to become a vocal leader as well.

Since arriving, the Flea has amassed 127 goals and 52 assists in 247 appearances, winning 4 Liga titles, 2 Champion’s League trophies, 1 Copa del Rey, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 3 Supercopa de Espana trophies, and 1 FIFA Club World Cup title for the team. As an individual, he has won every award available to him at the club level, culminating in the FIFA World Player of the Year and European Golden Shoe awards for 2009 (more information on all his awards is available on Wikipedia). Now widely regarded as the best player in the world and one of the best players ever, Messi is with Barcelona for a long time to come and we want to wish him the best here.

Of course, any mention of the man could not go by without mentioning his charitable works. He is also a principled young man (I can call him that because I am older than he is) who represents a number of groups bearing his own name to help children suffering from diseases and poor education as well as working with UNICEF.

So in honor of your birthday Leo, we want you to go out and have a tasty, delicious adult beverage, and make sure there is a mic around when you do it.

Happy Birthday!

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118 Comments

  1. vicsoc8
    June 24, 2010

    My girlfriend just came back from Barcelona bearing lots of gifts including a pair of the awesome new red shorts. She also took about a million pictures of the Camp Nou for me, despite not being interested in football at all. I’m a lucky man.

    • Vj
      June 24, 2010

      Very lucky..

  2. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    Usually I’d be mad a being Hectored, but in this case, I don’t really.

    Happy B-day, Messi! I hope you stay for another 10 years and then finish your career in Argentina!

    And yes vicsoc8, you are very lucky dude.

    GOOOOO JAPAN!

  3. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    KEISUKE HONDA GOLAZO OFF A FREE KICK. BEST OF THE WC SO FAR!

    WOOOOOO! Japan 1 – 0 Denmark!

  4. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    25 min. in and two Japanese players have been booked for time wasting. Let me repeat that. 25 min. into the match in the FIRST HALF two Japanese players have been booked for TIME WASTING; one was in the 11th min.

    Anyway, I’ve loving the Japanese fowards, Keisuke Honda in particular and the goalkeeper.

    Anyway, Japan FK!! C’mon!

    • Kari
      June 24, 2010

      HOLY FREAKING GOLAZO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      TWO GOALS IN HALF IN HOUR. BOTH FROM FREEKICKS!

    • Auld Super
      June 24, 2010

      I saw the boy Recoba get a hatrick of free kicks a few years ago while playing for Udinese. He was some player when he wanted to be.

    • Shekhu
      June 26, 2010

      I was just recalling Recoba when Uruguay was playing Korea.. What a player!!

  5. vicsoc8
    June 24, 2010

    Another fantastic free kick and it’s 2-0!

  6. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    Japan’s quick movement from the forwards and solid defending has been the story of the first half.

    Another Poulsen is getting ready to come on, just 34 min. into the match. Jorgensen coming off.

  7. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    In the other match, it looks like Holland have taken the lead through van Persie. Didn’t see the goal though.

  8. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    Japan has had an amazing first half. Their movement off and on the ball has been world class–it’s causing Denmark all sorts of problems. They play so well as a team.

    Apparently, they’ve been training focusing on speed and fitness and training in altitude. It’s doing wonders for Japan.

    HT 2-0 to Japan! Yosh!

  9. Auld Super
    June 24, 2010

    Happy birthday to Leo, the second greatest player to ever play the game after the mighty Diego (heading for first). He’s after lighting up this pretty poor world cup and showing rooney and the ronaldo for what they are, over hyped petulant toerags.

    • Vj
      June 24, 2010

      Pretty poor? Did you watch last few matches? The amount of upsets, drama, tension has been second to none..

      And just as I type this, Denmark pull one back to make this a nail biting last 15 mins!

  10. Kxevin
    June 24, 2010

    Scary thing is he seems to be getting better in his role as playmaker. Wouldn’t that be something that the detestable dumbass Maradumber, in asking Messi to shoulder that burden, returned him to us an even more amazing player.

    • Vj
      June 24, 2010

      He may be as mad as DomDom, but all the group stage success he’s had has led me to question – Is there a method to his madness?

      Another Goal, this time by Japan! This is turning out to be quite a goal-fest!

    • Dave
      June 24, 2010

      Well I think thats the role messi will occupy in the future, Rikaard mentioned this messi as a deeper midfielder

  11. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!! JAPAN! BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Unselfish from Honda, pulling it back for his teammate to score for his first goal in his WC debut

    MOTM surely!

  12. Kari
    June 24, 2010

    Yeah! Japan through to the Round of 16; two golazos from freekick, my personal fav being the first on from Honda, and another after nice play again from Honda.

    3-1 Japan FT

    • lovelymofo
      June 24, 2010

      And he was close to scoring a fourth for Japan! Nifty!

      I really enjoyed the matches today. Some interesting match ups!

    • Kari
      June 24, 2010

      I loved it too! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I felt people jumped to conclusions and put too much emphasis on the first matches. The WC has started to really pick up now. Who woulda though that both finalist would be out in the first round and finish bottom of their respective groups? We have an Argentina-Mexico rematch, England-Germany grudge match, a possible Brazil-Spain match up (although I don’t really want that to happen…)

      All in all, I can’t wait for tomorrow!

    • Ryan
      June 24, 2010

      Watching the games here in Japan, I’m really glad that Japan ditched the horrible form they had during the pre-tournament friendlies. Honda really is something else! An aggresive and clinical Japanese player; I didn’t think they made those!

  13. ballbeav
    June 24, 2010

    uruguay, argentina and paraguay all won their groups.

    brazil probably will too.

    but i hope chile doesnt.

    anyway, this world cup is showing that south america is where it’s at…

  14. Dave
    June 24, 2010

    The technique on those free-kicks was terrific

  15. Ciaran
    June 24, 2010

    For anyone amazed by Keisuke Honda’s freekick, I found this great video of his older ones… he’s been doing it for some time… I’m looking for a video from his freekick against Sevilla and I’ll add it in a moment…
    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21Tqb6YexwM

    • Ciaran
      June 24, 2010

      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoTSYnY7uiM

  16. Euler
    June 24, 2010

    Keisuke Honda was extremely impressive today. You have to give him a great deal of credit. Mostly he’s played as a midfield play maker in the past. Today as in Japan’s prior matches in the Cup he’s assumed the role of the lone striker and has been very effective despite playing out of position.

    Japan came into the World Cup in complete disarray and expectations for the Blue Samaurai were very low even in Japan.

    For Honda to step up and assume the role of lone striker for a national team that was suffering from effectiveness up top is really a tremendous effort given where he usually plays. He was very effective in disrupting a Demark sqaud that focuses it’s game on it’s defensive solidity. His movement and skill just gutted what Denmark relies on tactically.

    • Ryan
      June 24, 2010

      Wouldn’t it be insane if that “top 4 at least” proclamation from the Japanese coach actually came true?

  17. June 24, 2010

    I can see them suprising one or two more powerhouses. I mean they did pull off Pearl Harbor, pretty damn tricky if you ask me.

    As for “my drunk Messi”

    I think he says….

    You wanted the treble……here is your treble…..and we will bring you the treble again next year (manly) Visca Catalunia>>>> Barca players go crazy at this point, I don’t know if it was because he was coming out of his shell or what, but the team loved it!!!

  18. Pyro
    June 24, 2010

    Messi says the year that is coming we’ll keep going and win everything, we are gonna celebrate everything again. Thank you for everything, Visca el Barca y Visca Catalunya

  19. Helge
    June 25, 2010

    Guys, mark this date in your calendars!
    Sport.es published a pro-Ibra report as the leading article. They say his stats haven’t been that bad at all and Pep might give him a vote of confidence!

    • Jnice
      June 25, 2010

      They are only doing this to save face because they are idiots. They realize that Pep has no plans to sell Ibra, so they backtrack and look at the stats and say “Pep might give Ibra a second chance.” Ridiculous.

    • June 25, 2010

      continued
      “if there are no buyers”

  20. June 25, 2010

    btw auld super,
    mihaljovic had a hattrick too from fk’s while he was playing for lazio.
    the good ol lazio days.sigh

    • June 25, 2010

      and they were all from similar distance.
      like the halfway line between the goal and the half line of the field

  21. Eklavya
    June 25, 2010

    Alves starting vs portugal!

  22. Eklavya
    June 25, 2010

    Dunga not too well dressed this time 🙁

  23. messi_fan
    June 25, 2010

    The Yaya has scored for Ivory Coast

  24. Euler
    June 25, 2010

    Interesting match. How does Brazil breakdown a team that is dropping deep defensively and not pressing much at all past midfield? Playing Melo and Silva in midfield where does the creativity come from, particularly with Kaka out? Dunga has built this team to depend on moments of individual brilliance to get Brazil by in games like this as there’s not a lot of imagination in midfield for Brazil overall.

    Fábio Coentrao has been very impressive at LB for Portugal. He’s been perhaps their best player so far in this cup. He’s extremely good with the ball at his feet but also maintains his position and defends well in space. Not very strong but uses his pace well. Today he has to stop Maicon and is doing well.

    How silly was that CIV player getting Kaka sent off with a red last match by embellishing? The only way CIV can even possibly advance is for Brazil to destroy Portugal and he handicaps Brazil in doing so.

    • Eklavya
      June 25, 2010

      I also like portugal’s LB.

  25. Dave
    June 25, 2010

    Pepe’s in the wars. Frankly couldn’t happen to a bigger diver/injury feigner.
    Match needs to open up-and Baptista is more a road block than a creative influence. Team is short on creativity, without kaka it is workman-like.
    needs a playmaker- Diego was left at home so can’t see anyone else doing it

    • Jnice
      June 25, 2010

      Dani has had more influence on the game than Baptista. He doesn’t command the ball.

  26. Eklavya
    June 25, 2010

    Just saw the highlights of the other match. CIV should be up 6-0!

  27. Euler
    June 25, 2010

    Portugal is giving everyone a template for how to play Brazil. Argentina in particular as they are likely going to deploy 5-6 outfield player who are going to play deep and have primarily defensive responsibilities.

    Spain though can’t play Brazil this way. They are going to have to play up high and dispossess Silva and Melo of the ball in order to break up Brazi’s possession. But that also opens them up to Brazil’s strength which is scoring on the counter.

  28. messi_fan
    June 25, 2010

    Is Alves playing as badly as the commentators are saying? I’m at work so i can’t watch the match

    • Eklavya
      June 25, 2010

      No.

  29. Eklavya
    June 25, 2010

    What a freaking BORING match!

  30. Helge
    June 25, 2010

    I don’t understand the German commentators. They still expect Brazil to play “jogo bonito”, how much do they know about Dunga?!? Incompetent retards… 🙂

    I’m sure that Brazil will never entertain on the level that many people still seem to expect during this WC, Dunga puts effectiveness and winning above all. A draw was enough to secure first place, so Brazil drew. I really can’t stand them under Dunga.

  31. Kxevin
    June 25, 2010

    Alves didn’t exactly cover himself in glory that match, it must be said. But it was about the quality of match that was expected, when Brazil was through, and Portugal simply had to not concede. Ick.

    • Jnice
      June 25, 2010

      I thought Alves was fine, his movement and everything was better than most out there. His set-pieces sucked, though.

  32. Kxevin
    June 25, 2010

    And my condolences to Kari, as Silva is headed to Citeh, for around 35m. Can’t believe he’d be okay with not playing Champions League, but what do I know? The Yaya is also. They’re assembling quite the squad over there with all that money, it must be said.

    • Jnice
      June 25, 2010

      That’s what I’m saying. They’ve signed Jerome Boateng as well. With maybe another defender and another REAL striker, they might be fighting for the title next season. If I’m Arsenal and Man Utd, I’m kind of nervous because they seem to be resting on their laurels and looking at their squads, they aren’t too hot to me

      Plus, last season, City had a stretch where they tied like 8 or 9 straight matches. Had they won just a few of those, they would be in qualifying for CL and not Tottenham.

  33. theMaginator
    June 25, 2010

    If I were arsenal right now I would be scared of loosing Cesc because Citeh is getting stronger and stronger. Imagine is they loose Cesc. Which they will.

  34. Luis
    June 25, 2010

    Any news on the Spanish lineup? Will move villa to cf to make way for andres even tho he was good on left the last game. I’ve heard chile have very attacking tactics. Can they also play a tactical defensive game which. They probably won’t, and nor should they. Banking on a draw hasn’t worked well for teams thus far.

    • Euler
      June 25, 2010

      They are perhaps the most interesting squad at the cup tactically. They play a very dynamic 3-3-1-3 and drop players back when not in possession. They will also change formation to enhance the back line – they played 4 at the back against Honduras which was running a one striker up top. Against the Swiss two striker formation he Bielsa used a 3 man back line.

      What they do against Spain will depend partly on how Del Bosque lines up Torres and Villa. If Villa is out on the wing in a 4-4-3 I’d expect Chile to use 4 in the back. If it’s Torres and Villa together centrally Chile will use 3 in the back. Bielsa will likely substitute early to make sure he as the right formation on the back line.

      They’ve been absolutely terrific this World Cup. Extremely impressive.

  35. poipoi
    June 25, 2010

    one hour and a half to go!! no liveblog?? 🙁

    villa torres iniesta
    xavi busi xabi
    capde pique puyol ramos
    casillas

    we gotta go through ANYHOW with a doble pivote a triple or whatever go del bosque we love you park the bus lol

  36. June 25, 2010

    so i guess most of you guys watched the porto vs brasil match.
    make sure to watch the highlights of ivory coast, especially that goal from yaya.
    he chose a corner and slides it in instead of using his power as usual.
    btw he is their creative player and the dm at the same time i noticed.

  37. Vj
    June 25, 2010

    What no liveblog? I can host one if that is required..

    • lovelymofo
      June 25, 2010

      I vote for liveblog!

  38. June 25, 2010

    VILLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  39. james89
    June 25, 2010

    chilean players flipping and flopping all over the place.

    …and villa with the PEDRO

    • lovelymofo
      June 25, 2010

      I know! Shades of Pedro!

  40. June 25, 2010

    so today we have villa doing a pedro and yaya doing a messi

  41. Euler
    June 25, 2010

    Right there we saw the value of width. Chile is playing 3 in the back against Torres up top as a single striker.

    Xabi Alonso set up that play very well. The weakness in a three man backline is along the flanks. Alonso moved the ball into that open space for Torres to run into. There’s a great deal of space along the flanks and that’s why the defender got caught 1 vs 1 with Torres and the keeper had to come out so far.

    Brilliant strike by Villa. I guess he’s pretty good along the left flank.

    And it’s very fortunate that he scored that goal because Spain is having significant difficulty handling Chile’s relentless pressing. Xavi in particular has been absent because Chile’s not allowing any time on the ball.

  42. Bebop
    June 25, 2010

    OMG, is it a Miracle?!! Iniestaaaaa!

  43. y2k156
    June 25, 2010

    Spain are through now. Sadly i cannot feel happy for them.

    Busi doing his acting thing and referee giving out yellows to chile and none to spain for similar offences.

    Goals were brilliant though and am really happy for iniesta.

  44. Euler
    June 25, 2010

    Chile is now in big trouble. Their system depends on pressing very hard across the pitch and one man down they can’t do it.

    The reason why Chile picks up so many cards is that they tactically foul in order to prevent other sides from countering as Chile plays a high defensive line and presses all over. They are very open to the counter if it develops quickly.

    Second foul on Estrada was nonsense and Torres played it up but Estrada should have picked up a second yellow on an earlier foul anyway.

    • lovelymofo
      June 25, 2010

      Yes, Estrada should have been off for the foul on Iniesta.

    • Vj
      June 25, 2010

      He fouled Iniesta which led to the goal, which wiped out their +2 goal difference.. The Swiss only need a win in order to qualify, if Chile don’t score any more goals..

      Spain looks set to top the group and avoid Brazil.. I for one would like to see Pique owning Thong Boy again..

    • lovelymofo
      June 25, 2010

      Right? Chrissy has never scored against Barça, so I expect to see Pique OWN his ass.

      Plus, Portugal should be out if only for Pepe’s New Edition hair.

    • June 25, 2010

      torres was clipped. although it was an accident, there is no player that wouldve stayed on their feet.

  45. June 25, 2010

    now we’ll have to wait another year for iniesta to score sigh

  46. Jnice
    June 25, 2010

    Great match from the Barça boys. Busquet’s flick over one of the Chileans was lovely.

    Torres and Capdevilla have been awful. Torres’ touch is disgusting in a bad way and Capdevilla was afraid of Sanchez.

    • June 25, 2010

      you gotta remember, torres just came back from a lengthy injury.

    • Hilal
      June 25, 2010

      So did Iniesta… didnt see it effect his play. Ibra was coming off injury after injury all season, didnt see very many ppl give him the benefit of the doubt. Torres has been poor, simple as that, and not just this game, but all the games.

    • Vj
      June 25, 2010

      Iniesta has looked sluggish too.. It’s really hard to come out firing on all cylinders after an injury..

      Capdevila’s match can be summed up by that throw in he messed up..

  47. Ramzi
    June 25, 2010

    Iniesta intercept…Iniesta pass…Iniesta receive…Iniesta pass…Iniesta receive…Iniesta pass (to the net)!

  48. Kari
    June 25, 2010

    Villa is now the most prolific goal getter in Spanish WC history with 6 goals (and counting) and now has 41 (?) international goals. He’s also tied with Higuain with 3 goals. Score more, Guaje!

    LOVE how both goals are from Barca players (Yay Andres! Forcefield disables during crunch matches it seems 😀 )

    Can’t wait till our season starts up again

    • June 25, 2010

      and a few assists too!!
      mvp with messi

  49. Euler
    June 25, 2010

    Del Bosque made a very interesting tactical change for Spain in that half. Xabi Alonso was playing deeper than Busquets. That’s the first time that’s happened in this Cup. Alonso is usually in the more advanced position with Busquets deeper in a more defensive role.

    Del Bosque perhaps was concerned about Chile’s pressing up high. In order to give the defenders a sound outlet to play the ball out of Spain’s own third he had Alonso drop deeper to engage in link up play with his passing.

    Very impressed with how Spain is playing in this 4-3-3. They are using width so much better than they had not only in the first cup match but also in the run up. Alonso has been a big part of that with his diagonal balls. Pique was as well last match.

    Villa out left has been amazing. I can’t wait to see him play out there for Barca. It is going to be unbelievable. Villa-Ibra-Messi will be a stunning front line.

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