Happy 24th Birthday, Leo Messi!

Leo, Leo, Leo. What is there to say, really? For one thing, he’s his own noun, verb and adjective.

Messi [MEH-SEE], noun;
1. an unstoppable force of nature that destroys defenses and renders tactics useless; a phenomenon. FCB Scout: The Messi is strong with this one.
transcend (verb).
1. to be so utterly and completely dominate as to render those subjected to said domination and onlookers speechless. Oh look, it’s El Clasico — let the bi-annual Messi-ing begin.
peerless (adj).
1. a superlative to replace all superlatives. Wow, I just saw Eto’o and The Yaya on the same team, with The Yaya scoring a hattrick. That was so… Messi.

synonymous with: phenomenon, epic, mind-boggling , indomitable, transcendent .
antonymous with: Hlebbed.

Our lovable Leo is now 24. Twenty-four. Two-four. Veinticuatro. Vingt-quatre. You get the point. It seems so long ago when I watch an 18 year old Messi terrorize defenses like a boss. Now he’s all grown up, playing with deluxe edition Legos and a shiny PS3 instead of premium edition and a semi-new PS2, still terrorizing defenses like a boss.

He’s now played something like 269 games with us scoring something like 180 goal over the course of something like 7 seasons. He won the Ballon d’Or earlier this year (January for those of you with short memories), and has since collected the (useless by association) Di Stefano Trophy of Best Liga player handed out by Marca, as well as UCL top scorer.

As many of you already know, Leo is particularly special to moi as the one who really, properly introduced me to football, and as such, I sort of feel like it’s my duty to do the customary happy birthday post. (If you didn’t know, read all about it here).

Unfortunately, I’m lazy as all get out, so I’ve decided to compile a bunch of video (and moments) that I felt were the most memorable (which is hard, so I included a video of all of his goals. ….What? They are highlights in and of themselves).

The Goal:

(This takes honorable mention. The only thing I dislike about that video is I didn’t think of it myself.)

The Assist (at 3:20):

The Celebration:

The Compilation:

The Handball (dude, he IS Argentine.)

…Except he didn’t get away with it. Unlike that time vs Espanyol. He he he. Good times. (The best part was Guillem Balague having the most p*ssed off expression in the studio. “If you score with your hand, don’t celebrate!” Pfft. ๐Ÿ˜† )

The Tribute:

This shouldn’t really count since it happened 3 seasons ago, but I don’t care. Drunk!Messi still rocks my socks.

I love you, Leo. Long may you stay! And kiss the badge! And lead our celebrations!

And get crushed in man-hugs.

Feliz cumpleaรฑos, crack.

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. I should have known Kari would have a birthday post prepared for Messi! Cuz she’s so messi! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Many happy returns dear Leo! Cant thank you enough for the sheer pleasure that you subject us to week in week out. Thank you and happy birthday!!!!

    Am I really the first? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Great post! Hard to believe Messi is only 24.

    He’s hardly older than some of the players in participating in the u21 championships!

    Great Messi story in recent days – the Harlem Globetrotters are a basketball team that is famous for their tricks. They are not in a league – they are an exhibition team. The Globetrotters selected Messi with their first round draft pick! Hopefully they aren’t planning on using little leo as the ball to dunk….

    On the non-news of the day. It’s time to move on from Sanchez folks. Not closing the door – but enough of Pozzo and nonsense.

    It’s just unfortunate – because it’s pretty obvious what he’s doing at this point. He basically doesn’t want to do a deal with Barca so he’s making the situation so ridiculous they’ll bow out and use the funds they have on Rossi and Cesc.

    Later on he’ll go back to Sanchez and say – sorry – but Barca are now out – no money. Your only choice is to go to City. He knows City want him and will be able to come up with the money at even the very end of the summer if need be.

    Barca should continue to try to get a reasonable deal done until the start of the Copa America. But right now – they absolutely should restart serious negotiations with Rossi. Let’s see how Sanchez and his agent react.

    If the deal doesn’t get done before the Copa then Pozzo simply doesn’t want to make a deal with Barca. He’s penning in his own player to try to force a move to City down his throat.

    So continue to try to get a deal done on your own terms until the Copa. And if a deal isn’t done just go sign Rossi.

    At this point for the amount Sanchez would cost they could get Rossi and Willian. Just do that.

    When people complain about footballers making too much money, etc. – just remember how Pozzo has acted. If the players don’t make the money owners like so often Pozzo do. Few clubs are owned by their members.

  4. Sid Lowe’s article on the last Spain U-21 game:


    The accusation leveled at Spain’s U-21 team is that it doesn’t know how to play any other way. Firstly, that’s not true. Secondly, for those with a narrow understanding of ways to play it would be worth asking: did England, say, show it could play any other way? The long ball in the dying minutes is both legitimate and understandable. But rather than praising the teams that take the desperate option, rather than lauding their “courage,” consider praising the teams that, amid the tension and the pressure, stay calm and carry on. Isn’t that real courage?

    1. This is similar to the situation with Spain in the last World Cup. I heard a lot of people complaining that Spain didn’t seem to make changes at the end of the games, even when a goal was critically needed. But to follow Spain (and similarly Barcelona) is to have faith in the system. Faith and patience. Because that’s how these players play. The KNOW that if they follow their style and philosophy, the goal will come.

      So I think Lowe makes a great point, one that we Barcelona fans have to remember while watching some of the more infuriatingly close games against highly defensive opponents.

  5. By the way, for me, he’s the greatest ever. The only thing he’s missing is that “nostalgia” factor that seems to shoot players up a couple of notches — something that only comes after someone retires. (Zidane’s a great example).

    He makes the brilliant and mindblowing ordinary. That’s how special he is.

  6. Both MD and Sport are reporting that Barca has made their final offer for Sanchez – MD has it as 25-27 + 10-12 variables. Sport 25+10.

    To me this looks like a clear leak from the club in response to Pozzo’s nonsense.

    Pozzo keeps increasing the tab everyday. Barca is sending him a message that they are going to hold the line at where their bid is.

    This is the right move from the club. Sanchez only wants to play at Barca.

    My sense is that this is what Udinese may want – have Barca make a final offer and reject it. That way they can really apply the pressure to Sanchez to accept a move to City.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens. At this point its becoming a game of chicken between Sanchez and Udinese.

    Udinese are going to try to force him to City. And Sanchez is going to try to convince them that if he doesn’t go to Barca he will not accept a move to City and that he’ll stay at Udinese.

    At that point it becomes an issue of whether Udinese wants to take the significant risk of keeping Sanchez or taking the money on the table – his value next season could be far less.

    Regardless – there’s no point in Barca increasing their bid as Udinese does not appear to be negotiating right now in good faith. It’s just nonsense through the press. Given that there’s no point in trying to make rational counter offers. The other side isn’t being rational.

    I doubt this gets resolved one way or the other before the Copa America. And Barca can’t wait for the Copa America to add depth to the front line.

    This is really going to get down to how much resolve Sanchez has in this. It’s up to him to force Pozzo’s hand. If he tells him – I’m going to Barca or I’m staying and you don’t get a penny for me – that’s his best play.

    Udinese has many attractive players. So for purely financial reasons they could sell other players this summer to finance their operations.

    But keeping Sanchez is a big risk for them. He’s one player – if he gets hurt they could lose tens of millions. And it’s unlikely for Sanchez’s value to go north of 40M next summer.

    At this point make the offer and move on to Rossi. I would look to add him and Willian at this point – you could get both for less than 40M. Sahin was in the last year of his deal and went for 10M. Willian is not near the player Sahin is and did not have nearly the season. He should be less than 10M.

    1. My guess is the deal won’t happen. I’ll be disappointed, I really like Sanchez and think he could add something special to the team, but I’ll get over it.

      I just know that when I wake up in a few hours, I’m going to see another silly Pozzo soundbite. Who knows, it might be 60m this time. He has a right to do it, but I think it’s greedy and not fair to the player at all. It’s a shame, I thought we were close to sealing the deal last week. Oh, well.

      Rossi and another forward it is, I guess.

    2. And I just wanted say, Soriano seems like a really cool dude. I mean:

      If Barcelona would want to include me in another deal, that wouldn’t be a problem at all for me.”

      What a guy. He strikes me as someone who is grateful to the club because I read he sincerely thought his football career was finished and was ready to look for another job when Barcelona came calling. I think that’s why he is ready to help the club in any way.

      Despite his 32 goals (amazing tally), I personally don’t think he’s good enough for the first team, but he deserves a preseason just for his attitude alone. Great guy.

    3. When the FIFA financial fair play rules start kicking in next year I assume that this will lead to lower transfer fees across the board since even teams like Manchester City will be limited in their spending capacity. So I don’t understand this risk that Pozzo is taking. He must be extremely confident that he can get Sanchez to sign at City.

      If I was Sanchez and forced to sign at City, then I would demand a Tevez-like salary. Thus, next year when City no longer could afford my salary under the new rules, I would politely suggest they trade me to Barcelona, where I would gladly accept a pay cut to play. The only place I would accept such a cut. Of course, I kind of home Sanchez isn’t that sly, because it’s not becoming of a great player.

  7. someone needs to post the Cracovia vid of the Leo Messi song…youtube is banned at college for me ๐Ÿ™

  8. For 38 -40M, I’d prefer to sign Rossi (for 26-30M) AND William (10-12M), that way we have both subtitutes for Bojan and Jeffren, and considering selling both of them for 15M, we would have 20M more for signings, maybe 35-40M for Cesc (borrowing 15-20M of next year’s budget as Rosell said we could), and we would have 3 more super subs! Imagine having in the bench the likes of Rossi, Cesc, William, Afellay, Keita, Mascherano!! with Fontas and Pinto, wow!! I call that depth! That would be great, and Rossi has 26 years old, Cesc 24, and we could bring back botia next year if he keeps improving, and maybe invest in Sakho or someone like him, maybe I’m dreaming, but that would be great!

    1. I forgot about Adriano! he is probably gonna start for Brazil in the Copa America, really…what a team!

  9. I like Rossi alot, but a player like Sanchez makes what we do close to unstoppable, while Rossi allows us to be more versatile, but does not necessarily strengthen the starting 11. I say, we are CL champs, go big and get Sanchez and either Rossi or Cesc.

    1. I thought about Sanchez being ‘the’ signing that will seal our fate forever but should we break the bank to get him? Is he worth the risk?

      we all agree that depth is a need, one player will not fill that void. Sanchez is not a need, for 35+ mil he becomes a ‘want’

      Rossi offers less of an edge than Sanchez, fair enough but Rossi isn’t the one that is worth almost 20 mil more. What Rossi has over Sanchez is more certainty and faster adaptation. He is older than Sanchez which makes him less desirable but Rossi is nearing the peak of his career and he will offer everything on the get go. Sanchez on the other hand there is no certainty whether he will recreate his abilities in our team and if he doesn’t then his price tag would not be worth it and we will be worse off then if we went for an alternative.

  10. from the memory lane.

    i saw the first goal of messi in the senior squad.that delightful lob over the GK(the 2nd one,ist obe was denied for offside).watching the game with a vivid RM fan in the dormitory,who also happens to be an argentina NT fan just like me.i now know of muniain,thiago,deoulofeu,but back at that time never heard of messi.watching that goal i told that him this boy is special,i just didnt know just how special he was?

    i have seen a glimpse of maradona,a lot of zidane,ronaldo.but to me messi is wholly a different player,he is so freaking consistently billiant.if the argie team can provide him a solid defence no doubt argie will won the WC in 2014.

    unfotunately in 06,the coach made a blunder and in 10,well what more can u say bout the coach maradona?


  11. Feliz cumpleaรฑos Leo <3

    I saw this awesome quote while watching Punto Pelota after the CL final and thought it'd be appropriate for this post, its pretty damn clever!

    " En el principio fue el balรณn, y el balรณn se hizo carne, y la carne era el Barca." Messi 3:14

    Which translates into: "In the beginning was the ball and the ball became flesh, and the flesh was Barca" Messi 3:14


  12. Thanks Kari. Have a very messi BDay, Leo!

    Same story as yours, Kari. Came for Messi, stayed for Xavi…and Don Andres, and Dani, and Puyi…
    He makes the impossible seem ordinary. We’ve come to expect miracles from him every time his boot touches the ball. One of these days he’s gonna score a golazo and we’re gonna yawn because he didn’t do a triple axel mid-dribble. Let’s not take this for granted guys. Enjoy every minute because this is special.

    Sanchez? Time to move on and salvage some dignity. Rossi + Willian or Rossi + Mata (didn’t they say they’d let him go for 15 + a player?) leaves us money (after player sales) to go after the prodigal one (oh, why not just get it over with so we don’t have to hear it anymore).

    1. Some paper said Mata for +Jeffren + 15m (which I’d do immediately) another said there’s a clause in his contract that requires the club to look at every bid of 20m+ I believe.

      Mata is dope but he’s tainted with the Castilla DNA

  13. Great work, Kari!

    Here in Catalonia today, it’s La Diada de San Joan – a public holiday, and the official start of Summer and school holidays.

    After the celebrations last night, we’re still trying to clear our heads, even as the fireworks continue to be set off during the day. Last night was akin to being in a war zone.

    Barca TV (channel dedicated to all things FCB) has a special day for Messi today. On the 24th, Messi is 24, so there is 24 hours of Messi footage, interviews and matches. Awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Here in Catalonia today

      Oh, that green-ey’d monster, jealousy, is attacking me!

      You are so lucky!


    2. Thanks – we are enjoying!

      Right now, it’s the quarterfinal at Camp Nou in 2008/09 – against Arsenal – when Messi took them apart 4-1!

      Barca was without Pique and Puyol (Milito and Marquez), and Arsenal was minus Cesc. They had all been carded out. Amazing that the 3 musketeers all missed that match!

  14. Thanks for all the videos, Kari – I knew most of them, but not all ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m actually in lurker mode because I’m sick of the silly season (I’m one of the semi-apathetic ones, usually not giving a damn about all the rumours, but for some few moments going nuts about them^^) and I wish I could be in total ignore-mode because all this sh*t about Sanchez, ManCity, the Pozzo family and so on already caused me some serious anger. Not to mention Cesc saga, EMD claiming to sell players for a total of 45m (including Thiago for 20m) – I have to stop thinking about this stuff, going nuts mode is already activated!

    Anyway, I came here to show you a picture of something that I got by post this afternoon – the timing could not have been any better! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Visca Barรงa, viva Leo and long live BFB!

  15. I always see funny names pop up and one is Willian.

    first off, it’s Willian.

    second off, do some of you guys know what team he plays for? just curious, a lot of people’s posts seems to just piggyback and paraphrase other people’s posts.

    1. well to be honest I have only seen him play in games against Barcelona and he has always torn it up big time…does that make me mark him as a transfer target? maybe not..but he does represent the class of player we should be interested in..Fast, strong, a powerful shot and can play on either wing..

    2. “second off, do some of you guys know what team he plays for?”
      Shakhtar, claro!
      He certainly gave Alves a run for his money, especially in the first leg of the quarters. I’d love to see him trained up as a spare LB. FAST!

    3. Everyone keeps talking about him at LB and him giving Alves a run for his money.. I don’t really remember. I think no one from Shakhtar stood out except Luiz’s two misses. Don’t recall Willian doing that well.

      Also don’t think he’s ever played LB.

    4. He was on the left wing during the CL matches. Beat Dani quite a few times. Took Dani a while to figure out how to deal with him (remember, that was the game where Dani played like crap the first half(and wasn’t great the second) even though he managed that impressive goal).
      Actually Shakhtar (first leg) was scary for us, thankfully their finishing sucked.

      I’m not sure about the fullback thing but most seem to think that he can be turned into one (and it would continue our trend of hiring Brazilians as fullbacks ๐Ÿ™‚ (noteable exception King Abi).

    5. Willian would be a great acquisition for our attack, but I’m not sure he would necessarily be utilized at LB.

      Besides, isn’t he right-footed? Unless he’s almost ambidextrous I’d prefer a left footed defender on that side.

    6. LB or no LB, someone that fast terrorizing other teams’ RBs and giving us some real width on the left would be cool. Tracking back should be no problem; he’s just that fast (IMHO).

  16. I love this comment over here

    Barca are nothing but glorified ball hoggers in a below par league! If I was a manager and about to play them then I would adopt there style of play and use it against them as any and all teams with players who get paid millions a year should know how to keep the ball have skill and be able to pass a football and given that most teams have a greater physical presence then Barca this is why this is a winning solution and why on fifa 11 I have taken Bristol City to the champions league final on more than one occasion.

    By a fellow called edwardmagin.
    Jealousy to the maximum level.

    1. LOL! This comment is made of win! If adopting Barรงa’s style of play is so easy that you can just decide to do it the day before a match, then why doesn’t every team do it? ๐Ÿ˜†

    2. World-class players like Villa and Mascherano take whole seasons to adapt. Ibra never did. And yet the soccer geniuses at a virtual Bristol City can adapt overnight!
      Pep better start playing FIFA 11 before this idea catches on and and teams start beating us with our own tactics. Maybe Leo could teach him some tricks…oops…bet he only does PES.

    3. I think my favourite part is how his argument seems to be centred on the fact that he has taken Bristol City to the CL final on Fifa 11.

    4. It reminds me of that application for a football manager’s position that actually used FM triumphs as actual experience. ๐Ÿ˜†

  17. I would prefer Mata to stay at Valencia for at least one more season, but if he is really up for sale Barcelona should snap him up for the price. Heโ€™s a fast, intelligent player, can play on the wing or in midfield, and has already played with most of the members of the first team. He could be especially helpful for Villa, as they played together for two years at Valencia.

    1. Ha, Sid Lowe would have to favor Barca, with two Asturians.

      (Anyone know the story of what ties him to Oveido/Asturias, hence his apparent soft spot for Villa, Mata, Cazorla, and even Preciado/Gijon?)

      Re: Villa — from Barcastuff: “Rumors move to England? That’s not even a rumour, that’s just a lie. I want to stay as long as possible, I hope to retire at Barรงa.” — I found that amusing just for the fact that usually players seem to dance around calling anything lies. (When of course during the silly season the the footy press are nothing but lying liars who lie.)

    2. Could Villa accept a declining role and paycheck over the years and become a sort of Larsson for us though? It’d be nice if he could!

  18. Man, there are such morons on Twitter. Have nothing better to do than shoot the messenger (@barcastuff). It gets especially sad when “journalists” join in (WTF re: that guy who works for the Daily Express)

    1. it’s the new phase lately..
      Nerddyyy, juveoffsides, mattlaw, etc.

      I don’t get it. They (barcastuff) tweet ALL news regarding the barca name, brand, or players, and people complain?

    2. There seems to be no shortage of morons. It’s an overcrowding problem, like urban sprawl – moron sprawl. Morons abhor a vacuum, they’ll rush in and fill any space. Probably no room anywhere else so they migrating there like the birds on the twitter symbol. Once they form a majority they’ll push you to the point of doubting yourself. Don’t. It isn’t you. Be strong. Hopefully they won’t find us here…shhhhh

  19. Programming notes:

    U21 Euros
    Switzerland V Espana
    ESPN 2:30 PM EST on ESPN3

    Gold Cup Final
    USA v Mexico
    9:00 EST FSC,Univision

    Copa America
    Next Friday
    Argentina v Bolivia (need a messi fix!)
    8:30 PM EST WMDOCA (note: I have no experience with this channel)
    Hopefully there will be more options for these Copa America games.

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