5 little-known facts about Inter Miami star

On July 15, arguably the greatest soccer star in recent memory officially signed with the MLS club Inter Miami CF. That player is, of course, Lionel Messi, the forward from Argentina.

Messi has a legitimate case as the GOAT of soccer. Number 10 has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards and six European Golden Shoes awards — also a record. The phenom has a club record 34 total trophies for the historic FC Barcelona, the team he played on for his entire career until 2021. Those trophies included 10 La Liga titles and seven Copa del Rey titles. He scored 474 goals on Barcelona’s top team.

In 2021 the megastar teamed up with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on Paris Saint-Germain. He added another 22 goals in his two years there. And you cant forget about his time on the Argentina National Team, where he scored 103 goals and secured the FIFA World Cup crown in 2022.

Messi now has three games under his belt for Inter Miami, and he already has five goals to his name. A lot is known about the new biggest star in American sports, so we wanted to look at some things that you might not know. Here are five little-known facts about Lionel Messi.

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1. Future Ownership Stake in Inter Miami

Inter Miami part owner Jorge Mas confirmed that Messi will make $50-$60 million dollars annually with the club. The lower end of that is over five times more than the next highest-paid MLS player. It is no surprise that it took lofty numbers to persuade Messi to come stateside. But that isn’t the end of Messi’s earnings. He was also guaranteed an ownership stake with Inter Miami after his retirement. Messi will be set to join another soccer legend, David Beckham, as part owners of the team. Furthermore, Messi will also receive a share of the profits from MLS’ broadcasting deal with Apple TV.

2. First Contract was Signed on a Napkin

In 2000, Messi had a trial with Barcelona. The club was hesitant to sign him due to his size and the rarity of signing someone so young. The Messi family threatened to take their child’s talent elsewhere. Team executive Carles Rexach saw the potential that the 12-year-old possessed, and he couldn’t let him slip away, so he crafted a contract on the spot on a napkin. Messi accepted the makeshift contract, and the rest was history.

3. Had Serious Health Issues Growing Up

Messi had a very successful career from a young age, as he was recruited as a child and started his professional career in his teenage years. At age 17, he was — at the time — the youngest player to play for Barcelona in an official competition. At the time, he was the youngest-ever goal scorer for Barcelona as well. But things weren’t all perfect for Messi as a youngster. At age 10, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone disorder. He was smaller than the other kids his age and required nightly growth hormone injections. His family couldn’t afford the payments, but luckily part of his contract with Barcelona covered the medical expenses.

4. He Dedicates his Goals to his Late Grandmother

Messi’s grandmother, Celia Olivera Cuccittini, died when Messi was only a child, yet she still played a monumental part in his life. She was one of his biggest supporters for his soccer career. Messi honors his grandmother to this day with his iconic goal celebration. After goals, Messi looks up and points to the sky. This is believed to be a dedication to the grandmother that was so influential in his life.

5. His Real Name is Luis

Lionel Messi is commonly referred to by his nickname, “Leo,” but according to Biography.com, Messi’s real name is one that not many people know about. The site states that his first name is actually Luis, and his full name is Luis Lionel Andres Messi.