Lionel Messi looks unrecognisable as he signs for Barcelona in adorable Catalan FA transfer document | The SunFebruary 15, 2023
LIONEL MESSI signed for Barcelona on this very day 21 years ago.
And the legendary World Cup winner looks unrecognisable in his Catalan FA transfer document from 2002.
Messi, 35, is known over the planet as football’s No1 superstar.
His stylish haircut and trendy beard has spawned countless copycats from South America to Europe.
But Messi looked a world away from his current state when finally gaining entry to the Royal Spanish Football Federation.
The Argentina icon initially joined Barcelona from Newell’s Old Boys in 2000.
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But a transfer conflict between his boyhood club and the Nou Camp giants meant Messi was unable to play official games for Barca’s youth team.
And it took until February 15, 2002, before Messi was given his Spanish stamps via the Catalan FA.
The documentation meant he was finally able to properly integrate at La Masia before making his debut 18 months later and becoming one of the greatest players in history.
And a picture of his Catalan transfer document from the famous day has been revealed online.
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At 14 years old, there was no sign of the beard Messi now sports with Paris Saint-Germain.
And he also boasted long hair instead of his current snazzy barnet.
Fans quickly responded to the picture, with many praising Messi’s development into a global mega-star.
One said: “The rest is history. He became the best player in history.”
Another declared: “The best ever, this day should be a holiday all over the planet.”
One laughed: “And since that day it is finito.”
Another added: “And at 35 he joined the biggest club in France.”
Messi’s stats for Barcelona are still hard to comprehend, with the attacker netting 672 goals in 778 matches for the Catalans.
He won 10 LaLiga titles, seven Copa del Reys and four Champions Leagues during his time at the Nou Camp.
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But Messi’s Barcelona adventure came to an abrupt end 18 months ago when his contract was allowed to expire, paving the way for a free move to PSG.
He has since netted 26 times in 60 games for the French side, winning the Ligue 1 title in his first season.
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