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Lionel Messi made the all-important step on his path to superstardom when he signed his first professional contract with Barcelona in 2004.
The 32-year-old Argentine superstar has since built an incredible legacy in the sport and is widely revered as the best player of all time.
But on this day 16 years ago, Messi put pen to paper on his first professional contract and sent pulsating shockwaves about the next emerging star in world football.
Since that historic moment, Messi has lifted an incredible 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues amongst his 34-trophy haul with the Spanish club.
The Barcelona captain has excelled individually and has a record six European Golden Boots and six Ballon d'Ors.
Messi has also been managed by the likes of Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Tito Vilanova.
But the six-time Ballon d'Or winner still has the closest affinity with Frank Rijkaard, who handed him his league debut for Barcelona against Espanyol.
"The truth is that all the coaches I had since I arrived in the Primera Division taught me something," he told MBC.
"But I think the most important in my career was Rikjaard. If he hadn't trusted in me and not decided to put me in the first team first to train and then play my first match, maybe I wouldn't have made it to the first team.
"I always said that he was for me a very important person, because he trusted in me, put me in at the right time, picked me to play for the first team and that was very important for me."
Messi has made 711 appearances for Barcelona and scored a whopping 622 times and assisted an incredible 256 times.
The Barcelona talisman is showing little sign of letting up and will no doubt shatter a few more records before he bows out from the club.
On this day in 2004, a 16-year-old Leo Messi signed his first professional contract with Barcelona and the dream began :thought_balloon: pic.twitter.com/X7r7g7wB57
- B/R Football (@brfootball) February 4, 2020
:date: 16 Years Ago Today:
✍️ Lionel #Messi signed his 1st ever professional contract.
:stadium: 711 Games
:soccer: 622 Goals
:dart: 256 Assists
10 :trophy::flag_es: La Liga
8 :trophy::flag_es: Super Cup
6 :trophy::flag_es: Copa del Rey
4 :trophy: UCL
3 :trophy: Super Cup
3 :trophy::earth_africa: Club World Cup
6 :medal: Ballon d'Or
:goat: One of the greatest ever. pic.twitter.com/Ufo9ktgVyh
- SPORF (@Sporf) February 4, 2020
Featured Image Credit: PA
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