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The Argentine had made his debut in the 2004/05 season but it was in 2006/07, wearing the No.19 shirt on his back, where he well and truly began to explode into life.
He scored 17 goals in 36 games in all competitions and produced all sorts of magic from the right flank. And some of that sheer absurdity came against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Although Real won 2-0 courtesy of goals from Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy, Messi hit headlines for the way in which he destroyed Roberto Carlos and Fabio Cannavaro.
A video of Messi humiliating the pair has been doing the rounds on social media and it's scary just how fearless and gifted he was at such a young age.
A 19 year-old Lionel Messi against Roberto Carlos and Fabio Cannavaro, the later of which won the Ballon d'Or a month later. pic.twitter.com/xB1s1m3WYA- Football Threads (@FootyThreads_) March 22, 2021
He sent Carlos for a hot-dog with a swift drop of the shoulder and body feint before twisting both he and Cannavaro inside out in the same sequence.
Messi put the ball through the Italian defender's legs in glorious fashion to advance into the penalty area and he embarrassed him further late on with some outrageously quick feet and balance.
This was in October 2006, just a month before Cannavaro was named the winner of the Ballon d'Or after captaining Italy to the World Cup in Germany.
Here was Messi making the best defender in the world look very average, but fortunately for Cannavaro plenty of other world-class players have gone on to suffer the same fate in the last 15 years.
In the reverse El Clasico fixture, a teenage Messi dropped a masterclass when he notched his first hat-trick against Los Blancos in a 3-3 draw at the Nou Camp.
The third and final strike past Iker Casillas was an archetypal Messi goal: receiving the ball on the half turn, bobbing past defenders and then finishing with aplomb.
An iconic performance that well and truly signalled Messi's progression into a world-beating phenomenon.
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