Unique image of Messi’s childhood until the day he scored his first goal for Barca

Exactly 15 years have passed since the LaLiga match against Albacete at Camp Nou, which saw the young Argentine come off the bench with just three minutes left and open his account for the Blaugrana.

Messi replaced Samuel Eto’o (who had scored the opening goal) and having been on the pitch just a couple of minutes, the teenager clipped a shot over Albacete goalkeeper Raul Valbuena, but saw his effort ruled out for offside.

The moment it all changed: Messi hits his first goal for Barcelona Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Replays showed he was probably on, but in stoppage time he scored almost a carbon copy, letting another lofted pass from Ronaldinho bounce before lobbing Valbuena with a precise left-footed shot from just inside the area.

Young Leo, wearing the number 30 shirt (the no. 10 belonged to Ronaldinho at the time) reeled away in jubilation and then jumped up on the shoulders of the Brazilian forward as he received the applause from the Camp Nou crowd.

When Lionel Messi scored his first goal 15 years ago | Football News -  Times of India

The moment it all changed: Messi hits his first goal for Barcelona Photo: AFP/Getty Images / AFP/Getty Images

“It was really beautiful,” coach Frank Rijkaard said afterwards. “He showed that he has talent. He had one before that which was even more difficult, but it was ruled out. He kept very cool and he scored a good goal.

“He’s a lad with a lot of talent, a lot of quality. He is young, but he’s training with us and he feels ready to be more involved on the pitch with the first team.

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Fast-forward 15 years and Messi has scored an astonishing 627 goals for Barcelona’s first team in 718 appearances, with the 600th having arrived on May 1, 2019 – in the Catalans’ 3-0 win at home to Liverpool in the Champions League.

Leo is also now a six-time Ballon d’Or winner and has helped Barca to 34 trophies in his career at Camp Nou, including 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.

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