Argentina star Lionel Messi’s first ever interview as a 13-year-old has gone viral ahead of the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar, where he is bidding to cement his legacy as the greatest soccer player in history.
The 35-year-old is currently joint top goalscorer alongside France’s Kylian Mbappe in the major tournament ahead of Sunday’s final, as he bids to win the one trophy that still eludes him.
Messi has scored five times along with Mbappe – who he plays alongside at French team PSG – and has starred throughout with a number of magnificent performances.
But ahead of the game that matters most on Sunday, an old interview from Rosario-based newspaper Diario La Capital has resurfaced and has gone viral in Argentina and Spain.
Argentina star Lionel Messi’s first ever newspaper interview as a 13-year-old has gone viral
The forward is currently bidding to win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with the final on Sunday
The PSG forward was at his boyhood team in Argentina – Newell’s Old Boys – in his native Argentina and was just prior to his move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
But long before he fulfilled his greatness in a career that has seen him win six Ballon d’Or titles and four Champions Leagues, Messi had more modest aspirations. The summit of his footballing aims were: ‘To play in the first division with Newell’s [Old Boys].’
And his first interview unsurfaced plenty of other gems of what a young future superstar was interested in and what his ambitions were, if he didn’t make it in football.
When asked about his future job, he responded: ‘PE teacher’ before also revealing handball was his second sport and his favourite film was ‘Baby’s Day Out’.
The former Barcelona star also admitted that he loved listening to music, his favourite TV programme was Primicias, and that his hero was his dad Jorge and his god-father Claudio.
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The interview was carried out shortly before a 13-year-old Messi left Argentina for Spain, joining the iconic La Masia youth academy at Barcelona and blossoming into an all-time great.
Messi will captain Argentina on Sunday against France in a game where victory will likely cement his status as the best to have ever played the game.
Already worshipped in Argentina, Messi has never won a World Cup and it is the one title that is the difference between himself and Diego Maradona – another almost deity-like figure in Argentina due to football success.
Maradona almost single-handedly propelled Argentina to World Cup glory in the 1986 tournament in Mexico, before Messi was even born.
Messi now has a final chance to emulate that glory and clinch Argentina’s first World Cup title since Mexico – ending a 36-year wait.
Maradona also coached Messi and Argentina in the 2010 World Cup but they were knocked about by Germany in the quarterfinal, losing 4-0.
In November 2020, Maradona died at the age of 60 from a cardiac arrest, plunging Argentina into mourning.
Diego Maradona almost single-handedly won the 1986 World Cup for Argentina in Mexico
Maradona coached Messi and Argentina at the 2010 tournament – they lost at the quarterfinal
Messi can seal legendary status by helping Argentina claim their first title for 36 years
The 35-year-old Messi has played in a World Cup final before – losing in extra-time to Germany in the 2014 competition in Brazil.
Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the semifinal on Tuesday to reach the final with Messi starring once again and scoring a penalty.
‘I am enjoying this a lot. I am feeling really good, strong enough to face every match,’ Messi said after.
‘Personally I’m very happy, I’m enjoying it a lot and I’m happy that I’m able to help my squad make things happen.’
Messi has won one trophy at international level before – the Copa America in 2021.
France is the defending champion and the narrow favorite ahead of Sunday’s game.
Messi was at Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina, just prior to his move to Barcelona
A coach: Everyone I’ve had, because I’ve learnt something from all of them (Gabriel, Morales, Domínguez, Vecchio and Coria).
A fitness coach: Pablo Sánchez.
A player: Two, my brother and my cousin.
A team: Newell’s
A hobby: Listening to music.
A type of music: Cuarteto and Cumbia.
A TV programme: Primicias
A magazine: Pasión Rojinegra (Newell’s fan magazine)
A book: The Bible.
A film: Baby’s Day Out.
Other sport: Handball.
A model: Nicole Neumann.
A food: Chicken and sauce.
A subject: Spanish
A job: PE teacher
An objective: Finish secondary school.
A goal: Play in the first division.
A joy: When we were champions.
A sadness: My grandmother’s death.
A hope: To play in the first division with Newell’s
A memory: When my grandmother took me to play football for the first time.
A dream: To play for Argentina.
A tale to tell: When we travelled to Peru and became champions.
Humility: What a human being must never lose.
Argentinean youth teams: I’d love to play for them.
Expectations for this year: To be champions again.
Family: My dad Jorge, my mum Celia and my brothers and sisters Rodrigo, Natalia and Marisol.
Friends: I’m lucky I’ve got lots of good friends – if I tried to name them I’d forget someone.
What does Newell’s mean in your life? Everything, absolutely everything.
Messi’s glittering career has seen him accumulate an estimated wealth of $620m. He is married to childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo and they have three sons together.
It was reported recently that Messi could join David Beckham’s Inter Miami in Major League Soccer in 2023.
His current contract at PSG runs until the end of the European domestic club season, and as it stands he would be free to take his pick of his next team.
Sportsmail reported on November 27 that the MLS side believe a deal can be done and that Messi will take a cut on his current salary in Paris, worth around $1.4m-a-week but would still be the best paid soccer player in American history.