Lionel Messi was born on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. Rosario’s father worked with steel in a factory while his mother was a cleaner. Messi began to play soccer at a young age and it was clear that he had a talent for the game. Messi soon faced a problem though. At the age of 11 he was diagnosed with GHD (growth hormone deficiency) which required very expensive medical treatments and the drug Human growth hormone. There was a local club called River Plate that wanted to sign Messi but didn’t want to pay for his medical treatment. Now 13, Messi was given a trial from Barcelona and impressed the coach, Carles Rexach, very much. He offered Messi a contract then and there on a napkin and that they would pay for his treatments! His parents didn’t have enough money to pay for his medical bills so they all moved across the Atlantic to Spain.
During the first few years Messi was often homesick in his new country. This didn’t however stop him from moving quickly up the junior ranking system. At 16 Messi made his first appearance for Barcelona. In May, 2005 he made the record of youngest player ever to score a goal for the franchise. Because of his growth deficiency Lionel Messi only grew to the height of 5 feet 7 inches but as you can tell this hasn’t stopped him from his dream. In 2012 Messi broke a former soccer player’s record (Gerd Muller) of 85 goals in a calendar year, to 91 goals in a calendar year! Messi has been awarded FIFA’s “Player of the Year” a record fourth time!
Cristiano Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. He is the youngest of four children and was named after Ronald Reagan a favorite actor of his father’s. Ronaldo grew up in a fairly poor neighborhood in a small tin roofed shack. His father who was a gardener, often drank too much, this was a hardship to Ronaldo and his siblings of course. His father died of kidney problems in 2005. His father was also an equipment manager at a boy’s club which was the thing that first introduced Ronaldo to soccer. At 10 years old he already recognized as phenomenon. His godfather told British reporters, “He loved the game so much he’d miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with