Professional Soccer Player
Lionel Messi is from Argentina. He played soccer from an early age with his older brothers and cousins and he joined a team when he was 4. Messi was a child prodigy and scored almost 500 goals from age 6-12, but a growth hormone deficiency threatened his future in the sport. When Barcelona agreed to pay for the medicine, he moved to Spain with his father. After completing his medial treatment, he played on the ‘Baby Dream Team,’ Barcelona’s best ever youth team. Messi scored 36 goals in 30 games and was voted World Soccer Young Player of the Year in 2006-2008. His professional debut came at age 17, the youngest in Spain’s La Liga. Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or 6 times and the Pichichi Trophy 7 times so far. He also led the Argentina Football Team to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. Messi has millions of fans on social media. He married childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in 2017 and they have 3 sons together. Messi is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 150 lbs.
Lionel Messi’s Diet
As a teenager, Messi ate like most do: lots of junk food. But as time went on, he discovered that method wasn’t working for his body. He cut out the pizza and soda and started working with nutritionist Giuliano Poser. Messi’s diet today consists of 5 major categories: fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts & seeds) and water. He avoids added sugar and refined flour and he does not eat much in the way of meat. He drinks tons of water, and he also has up to 3 protein shakes a day when he’s prepping for a match.
- Medium Carb 35% 35%
- Medium Fat 35% 35%
- Medium Protein 40% 40%
Eat Your Fruit & Veg
The news that Messi follows a strictly vegan during the soccer season has never been confirmed or denied. But what is true is that he focuses on fresh produce and goes light on the animal protein. Besides leafy greens, he also includes nuts, seeds, and virgin olive oil for more healthy plant-based nutrients.
Don’t Neglect Protein
Although Messi doesn’t eat as much meat as he used to, he still gets his protein in each day in the form of shakes.
Soccer matches go on for hours, making hydration essential. Messi drinks lots of water.
Messi drinks Yerba Mate tea, a caffeinated beverage that provides energy naturally.
One of Messi’s favorite dishes is an Argentine speciality called Milanesa, a filet of beef coated with breadcrumbs and shallow fried. He also digs Argentinian barbecue.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Messi on His Diet
‘What you can put in your body at 18 or 19 yers of age is not the same as what you can put in at 27.’
Messi’s Nutritionist on Sugar
‘[It] is the worst thing for the muscles. The farther he stays away from sugars, the better.’
Messi’s Nutritionist on Refined Flour
‘Refined flours are also a big problem as these days, it’s difficult to find uncontaminated wheat.’
Messi’s Nutritionist on Meat
‘The amount of meat normally eaten by Argentinians and Uruguayans is too much, as it is difficult to digest.’
Lionel Messi’s Fitness Routine
Messi loved soccer from the moment he could kick a ball. He has almost literally never not played the sport. He says what he loves is playing, and he doesn’t care about the money.
Size Doesn't Matter
Although Messi is only 5’ 7” tall, he dominates on the field. He focuses on speed, strength and stretching.
Although Messi isn’t as rigorous about training as players like Ronaldo and Neymar, he still works out consistently. He also stretches for over an hour every day during the season.
Weight training isn’t the focus of his Messi’s fitness routine, but it boosts his performance during play.
Focus on Speed & Agility
To stay a step ahead of the competition (literally), Messi practices both linear and multi-directional routines.
A Lionel Messi Routine
Linear Speed Workout
Pillar bridge (front): 30 sec x 2 sets
Knee hug lunge: 4 reps/side
Inverted hamstring stretch: 4 reps/side
Pillar skip (linear): 15 yds
2-foot rapid response: 5 sec x 2 sets
Hurdle hop: 5 hurdles x 2-3 sets
Split squat jump: 4/side x 2-3 sets
Acceleration wall drill (marching): 5 reps/side x 2 sets
Acceleration wall drill (single exchange): 5 reps/side x 2 sets
Acceleration wall drill (triple exchange): 5 reps/side x 2 sets
Acceleration (split stance): 10 yds x 3-5 sets
Acceleration to base: 10 yds x 3-5 sets
Multi-Directional Speed Workout
Same as above
Hurdle hop (lateral) 5 hurdles/side x 2-3 sets
Lateral bound: 4/side x 2-3 sets
Lateral shuffle to cut: 4 reps/side x 2-3 sets
3-hurdle drill (stabilization): 3 reps x 2-3 sets
3-hurdle drill (continuous): 3 reps x 2-3 sets
3-hurdle drill (to drop step): 3 reps x 2-3 sets
Mirror drill: 5-10 sec x 3-4 sets
Messi on Striving
‘My ambition is always to get better and better.’
Messi on Self-improvement
‘Every year, I try to grow as a player and not get stuck in a rut. I try to improve my game in every way possible. But that trait is not something I’ve worked on, it’s part of me.’
Messi on Soccer
‘I have fun like a child in the street. When the day comes when I’m not enjoying it, I will leave football.’
Messi on Giving His All
‘I am successful because I made sacrifices for success.’
Messi on Instinct
‘The best decisions aren’t made with your mind, but with your instinct.’
Lionel Messi’s Supplements
Lionel Messi’s Lifestyle
Sleep Like a Baby
Messi takes his sleep seriously, and gets in some 12 hours a day. He has slept this long since he was a child. He is reportedly quite grumpy when people try to get him up and moving.
Drama on the Pitch
Messi’s parents could not afford the necessary growth hormone treatment that was threatening his football career. One local team promised to help foot the bill but later reneged. Messi was scouted by anther team but they too could not pay for the treatment. The family finally went to Spain where Barcelona agreed to pick up the tab.
Messi signed with the Barcelona soccer club on a paper napkin as no other paper was on hand at the time.
Messi suffered terribly from homesickness once his mother returned to Argentina with his siblings, leaving him in Spain with his father.
Messi had difficulty integrating with his Spanish teammates and almost never spoke to the point that they thought he was mute.
In 2013, Messi was investigated for tax evasion. He pleaded ignorance and voluntarily paid €5.1 million. In 2016, he and his father were found guilty of tax fraud, received a suspended 21-month prison sentence, and paid a few more million euros in fines.
Messi has served as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and he founded his own self-named charity which supports healthcare, education and sports for children. He also invests in youth football in Argentina.
Don’t Go, Leo
In 2016, Messi announced his retirement from the sport, prompting an Argentinian national campaign to keep playing. A week later, he reversed his decision. He made noises over leaving BC Barcelona in 2020, but because it would involve going to court, he opted to stay.
Messi on Losing
‘Sometimes you have to accept you can’t win all the time.’
Messi on Following His Dream
‘I made sacrifices by leaving Argentina, leaving my family to start a new life. I changed my friends, my people, everything. But everything I did for football, to achieve my dream.’
Messi on Suing FC Barcelona
‘I would never go to court against the club of my life.’
Messi on The Tax Fraud Accusation
‘I just played football. I signed the contracts because I trusted my dad and the lawyers and we had decided they would take charge of those things.’
Messi on Himself
‘I’m more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world…When I retire, I hope I am remembered for being a decent guy.’
Messi on Kindness Toward Others
‘A child’s smile is worth more than all the money in the world.’
Messi soccer ball