Lionel Messi: In pictures
Barcelona president Joan Laporta made sure he signed Lionel Messi up to a long contract quickly.
He was the top scorer at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships as he led Argentina to the title.
Messi made his full debut in 2004 and became the youngest player ever to score a league goal for Barca at only 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old.
Messi won the Young Player of the Year award for three seasons in 2006, 2007 and 2008
He picked up his first La Liga title in 2004-05 and soon became a fixture in the side.
Indeed the youngster soon became a vital cog for club and country, although the 2006 World Cup did not work out as planned.
Messi's first hat-trick for the club came in 2007 and against old enemy Real Madrid.
Messi scored one of the greatest goals ever as he ran through the entire Getafe side in 2007.
His header helped to seal his second Champions League crown in 2009 (although the first he had played in)
Messi landed his first Ballon D'Or in 2009 as he would be the best player in the world for three years straight.
His rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo saw him play a major part in beating Real to the La Liga title in 2010.
Messi's four goals saw him knock Arsenal out of the Champions League in 2010 and he was hailed as the greatest ever.
The following season saw him lift another Champions League title in 2011.
And from one great to another: Pele hands Messi the first ever FIFA Ballon D'Or in 2011.
He became the first player to score five goals in the Champions League in a 7-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in 2012.
Messi equalled the all-time scoring record for Barcelona - Cesar Rodriguez's 232 - aged just 24