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14 years today, Lionel Messi made his debut in La Liga and football has never been the same.
The Argentine genius 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 for the Barcelona 'B' team in no time.
A single training session with the first-team squad let 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 five-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 above 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.
#OnThisDay in 2004, Lionel Messi made his debut for Barcelona :flag_ar:
5x Ballon d'Or :earth_africa:
29x Major honours :trophy:
GOAT :goat: pic.twitter.com/m1FFjdiDdt
- Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) October 16, 2017
On this day in 2004, Lionel Messi made his Barcelona debut against Espanyol. :soccer: :goat: :trophy: pic.twitter.com/ERagqd8xUm
- Sporting Index (@sportingindex) October 16, 2017
On this day in 2004, Lionel Messi made his first-team debut for Barcelona :large_blue_circle::red_circle: pic.twitter.com/K70Fs8UNXe
- B/R Football (@brfootball) October 16, 2017
On this day 13 years ago, Lionel Messi made his professional debut.
The rest, as they say, is history. :goat: pic.twitter.com/wJhe5aIQfD
- Proper Sport (@ProperSport) October 16, 2017
Today In 2004, Messi made his #LaLiga debut vs. Espanyol coming in for Deco.
What is your favorite Messi moment? :goat: pic.twitter.com/8rKS85jdzO
- SupaBet247 (@SupaBet247) October 16, 2017
:goat: #OnThisDay in 2004, Lionel Messi made his La Liga debut for Barcelona
His record since...
- Games: 390
- Goals: 360
- Titles: 8 pic.twitter.com/lM63nYTL3J
- The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) October 16, 2017
ON THIS DAY: In 2004, Lionel Messi made his LaLiga debut vs. Espanyol.
The all-time top scorer. :goat: pic.twitter.com/d2OBuveFrb
- Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 16, 2017
After his debut, Messi had to wait seven months before he got on the scoresheet for the Blaugrana but it was well worth the wait.
With Ronaldinho still firmly seated on his throne at the Camp Nou, the Brazilian was well aware that his true heir was playing alongside him.
And in a 2-0 win over Albacete, the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner set up Messi's first of many goals at the Nou Camp.
Replacing goalscorer Samuel Eto'o, Messi soon had the ball in the back of the net, latching onto a deliciously scooped Ronaldinho through ball. The effort was incorrectly ruled out for offside, however and it appeared the 17-year-old would have to wait until his next match to try and attempt to become Barcelona's youngest ever goal scorer.
But that wasn't the case. Just moments later, virtually the same goal was scored, as Ronaldinho threaded through his prodigy, and he confidently lofted the ball over the goalkeeper before wheeling away in celebration.
Time Vault: In 2005, Ronaldinho assisted Lionel Messi's first ever senior goal for Barcelona. #TFOShow #FCB
- The Fifth Official (@TFOshow) May 1, 2017
Just the five Ballon d'Ors, eight La Liga titles, four Copa Del Reys, four Champions Leagues and 521 goals for Barcelona since then. He's done alright, hasn't he?
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