Lionel Andrés “Leo” Messi (born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Often considered the best player in the world and rated by many in the sport as the greatest of all time, Messi is the only football player in history to win five FIFA Ballons d’Or, four of which he won consecutively, and the first player to win three European Golden Shoes. With Barcelona he has won eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles, as well as four Copas del Rey. Both a prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season (50), a football season (82), and a calendar year (91), as well as those for most assists made in La Liga and the Copa América.
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona, who agreed to pay for his medical treatment. After a fast progression through Barcelona’s youth academy, Messi made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004. Despite being injury-prone during his early career, he established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years. Read more
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (born 5 February 1992) commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Brazil national team. Neymar came into prominence at an early age at Santos, where he made his professional debut aged 17. He helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores, Santos’ first continental title since 1963. Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year, in 2011 and 2012, before relocating to Europe to join Barcelona. As part of Barça’s attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League in the 2014–15 season, followed the next year by the domestic double. He came third for the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2015.
With 47 goals in 71 matches for Brazil since debuting at age 18, Neymar is the fifth-highest goalscorer for his national team. He was a key player in Brazil’s victories at the 2011 South American Youth Championship, which he finished as the leading goalscorer, and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. His participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América was cut short by injury and a suspension respectively, but the next year he captained Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal in men’s football at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Read more