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Messi had taken to the field for Barcelona in a friendly against Jose Mourinho's Porto side, aged 16 years, four months, and 23 days old on 16 November 2003, and he was already turning out fr the Barcelona 'B' team in next-to-no time.
A single training session with the first-team squad led the great Ronaldinho to believe that Messi would surpass him, and it wasn't long before he was fast-tracked into the Blaugrana's star-studded side.
16 October 2004 is the date that saw Messi make his first-team bow. In an away derby against Catalan rivals Espanyol, with 34,400 fans in attendance, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner entered the fray in the 82nd minute, replacing eventual match-winner Deco and making a bright cameo.
Aged 17 years, three months and 22 days, and wearing the No.30 shirt on the right flank, Messi didn't manage to score or register an assist in the 1-0 but as you'll see in the below clip, there were plenty of impressive touches and passages of play that then went on to become features of Messi's game as his burgeoning talents improved to an extraordinary level.
16 years on and he doesn't seem to be regressing despite now being 33-years-old.
There aren't many stats and records that he hasn't broken for the Catalan giants or in football in general and he continues to shine as by far and away their best player.
He's won 10 La Liga titles, 6 Copa del Reys, 4 Champions League and three Club World Cups, cementing his place as Barca's greatest player and perhaps the best ever to kick a ball about for a living.
While he was involved in a bitter transfer saga with his boyhood club over the summer, Messi decided to stay out of his love for Barcelona.
From a young kid replacing Deco to a real GOAT.
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