How did Messi ‘switch on superhero mode’ at Barcelona 20 years ago?

Two decades ago, famous striker Lionel Messi made a great leap in his career when he debuted for Barca’s first team. From that moment on, he showed the qualities of a genius and later achieved countless admirable successes.

Change dressing rooms constantly

Brought back from Newell’s Old Boys in 2000, Messi, after several years of quietly accumulating, has reached his “explosion point”. In the 2003/04 season, the young talent from Argentina played for Juvenil B, Juvenil A (belonging to the Barca youth team system), Barca C, Barca B and the Barca first team. Thus, within just 1 year, he has moved through 5 different dressing rooms at the club level. The actual number of dressing rooms must be 6 if based on the fact that this player born in 1987 also played 2 matches for the Argentina U20 team.

Wealth does not wait for age

Messi started the historic 2003/04 season on August 8, 2003. He appeared in the match between Juvenil B and Dutch representative Feyenoord at the Toyota U17 Club World Championship. That day, the former PSG striker played all 90 minutes. He contributed an assist to help Franck Songoo score and Juvenil B defeated the opponent with a score of 3-1.

Just over a month after that memorable match, Messi, after winning the Toyota U17 best player award, was “promoted” to play for Juvenil A. That’s what happened on September 14 in round 2 of the youth tournament. Spain. This time, Messi continued to have a dream performance when he and Juvenil A crushed Hercules 3 goals without reply.


On October 26, Messi not only scored the first goal for Juvenil A, but he also made a poker (in minutes 7, 55, 65 and 90) to help the home team destroy Gimnastic de Tarragona with a score of 7-0. With Juvenil A, Messi scored 18 goals in just 11 matches.

Meet coach Mourinho in his unofficial debut

During La Liga’s break to make room for national team matches at the end of 2003, Messi along with several young Barca players were called up to the first team by Frank Rijkaard to practice. Commenting on his junior’s performance on the field, French midfielder Ludovic Giuly admitted: “He destroyed all of us. To avoid being turned into clowns, the first team players do not hesitate to make mistakes regardless. Yet Messi continues to stand up and continue playing.”

“Messi has the ability to pass up to 4 players and has scored 1 goal. He is so excellent that even Barca’s pair of central defenders who specialize in starting football feel stressed. Messi is truly from an alien world, not an ordinary person.”

Just like Ludovic Giuly shared, Messi played so well that coach Rijkaard kept him in the first team. Messi’s first match for Barca’s first team was actually just a friendly, not an official playground. any. On November 16, 2003, Messi was present in Barca’s match against coach Jose Mourinho’s Porto, winning the Champions League not long after.

Although Barca lost to Portugal 0-2, Messi at the age of 16 years, 4 months and 23 days still left a strong impression. Since entering the field in the 75th minute, he created 2 opportunities and fired 1 shot that hit the goal.

The defeat at the hands of Porto was Messi’s second defeat in the 2003/04 season. Before that, Juvenil B lost to Real’s youth team in September.

Back to the youth teams

After the friendly match with Porto, Messi had to wait until February 2004 to have the opportunity to play for Barca’s first team again. In the meantime, this small player with a superb left foot played 5 more matches for Juvenil A and 9 more matches for Barca C.

Thanks to Messi’s great contributions, Barca C was promoted in December 2003. During La Liga’s break, Messi played another friendly match for Barca. He appeared for 45 minutes, did not score or assist, and Barca defeated the Ukrainian representative with a score of 3-2.

In March 2004, Messi appeared in Barca B’s match against Mataro in round 28. That day, Barca B overcame the opponent with the minimum score and Messi did not assist or score himself. Instead, he received his first yellow card of the season.

Set up poker in 18 minutes

The second poker shot that Messi made in the 2003/04 season came in May in the match between Juvenil A and Sevilla. This match belongs to the 1/8 round of the Spanish King’s Cup for U19s.

Notably, Barca’s prodigy only needed 18 minutes to concede the opponent’s goal 4 times (from minute 52 to 70). Immediately after that match, Barca’s official website posted an article about Messi with the title: “A unique performance.” Along with that is a link to the YouTube page broadcasting the video of Messi’s poker match.

Talking about this match, Messi recalled: “We really played very deadlocked in the first half. In the second half, Sevilla looked exhausted and I took advantage of that to score. After “clearing the barrel”, the next goals just came naturally.”


Officially launched team 1

In June and July, instead of contributing to Barca, Messi participated in two friendly matches with the Argentina U20 team. He contributed 1 goal and 2 assists in the match U20 Argentina defeated U20 Paraguay 8-0, before adding 2 goals and 1 assist to help the home team crush U20 Uruguay 4-1.

Three months later, Messi had his first official match for Barca’s first team. In the competition between Barca and their neighbor Espanyol in round 7 of La Liga 2004/05, Messi entered the field to replace Deco in the 82nd minute. That day, the owner of 8 Golden Balls was only 17 years old, 3 months and 22 days old. and wearing the number 30 shirt is quite strange.

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