Captain Lionel Messi is seen prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia
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Messi's Height Almost Prevented Him from Becoming Argentina's Soccer Phenom


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Lionel Messi is one of the top football players on the globe. The former FC Barcelona and current PSG (Paris-Saint Germain) star who is now 35 has been playing professionally since he was a teenager. That is a long career that almost never came to fruition for the captain of the Argentina national team, who is preparing for the FIFA World Cup that starts this weekend in Qatar. Seriously, there's a world where the Spanish league star isn't the hat-trick threat we know him to be today.

GHD Almost Stops Messi from Scoring G-O-A-L-S

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Argentina

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

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Messi came from a working-class background, his father was a steel factory worker, and his mother was a cleaner. He started playing soccer at a young age for the Argentina football club, Newell's Old Boys. And even then his skills were apparent. However, at age 11 he was diagnosed with Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) sometimes referred to as dwarfism, a condition caused by insufficient amounts of growth hormone in the body. GHD stunts growth, which would have effected Lionel Andres Messi's height and requires the use of Human Growth Hormone or HGH to remedy.

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If HGH sounds familiar to you, it is because it is what professional athletes including baseball players and Olympic athletes have been handed lengthy suspensions over its use and/or had medals or other accomplishments stripped for taking Human Growth Hormone. The difference is, they were cheaters and Leo Messi needed the drug to correct his imbalance.

FC Barcelona was so impressed with Messi as a young soccer prospect Barca signed him to their youth academy, he moved to Spain where the LaLiga club paid for his treatment. Messi stopped taking HGH at age 14 when his treatment was complete.

Lionel Messi's Surprising Height

Lionel Messi of Argentina controls the ball against Josip Drmic (L), Fabian Schar (2nd L), Stephan Lichtsteiner (2nd R) and Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

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So, how tall is Argentina's Golden Shoe winner? Lionel Messi's height is listed at 5'7" and while he is below average height for a professional soccer player, he is by no means the shortest professional soccer player. Being the type of player he is and his high IQ for the game, he has geared his short stature to his advantage. Squeezing through defenders and his ability to get low and dribble around or outmaneuver would-be attackers with his size and speed working to his advantage.

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Messi has accomplished so much in his career. Despite shots from world renowned footballer Pele. Among them the Brazil great claiming that for Messi to become the best ever he must first be better than Neymar. Perhaps a bit of bravado on behalf of his countryman on the part of Pele. That not withstanding, the Argentine footballer is a lightning quick and natural goalscorer. Four time UEFA Champions League winner, Ten time LaLiga champion, eight time Ballon d'or winner, seven Copa del Rey titles and 2019 FIFA Mens Best Player. He is Number 1 on Forbes 2022 World's Highest-Paid Athletes list. He was cheered for in his debut by none other than Argentina great Diego Maradona. He has battle his Real Madrid counterpart Cristiano Ronaldo, who is now with Manchester United, for many of these honors and he will for one more as they both attempt perhaps for the last time, to capture FIFA World Cup glory in Qatar. Just think how close it all came to not being a reality for the Argentinian striker who is now one of the best footballers in the world.

2022 World Cup Groups

2022 World Cup Schedule

  • Group Stage: Nov. 20-Dec. 2
  • Round of 16: Dec. 3-6
  • Quarterfinals: Dec. 9-10 at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
  • Semifinals: Dec. 13-14, with matches held at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail and Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
  • Third-place Playoff: Dec. 17 at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.
  • World Cup Final: Dec. 18 at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail.

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