Messi started playing football at a young age and his potential was quickly identified by Barcelona. He left Rosario-based Newell Old Boys youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe, Barcelona, offered treatment for their growth hormone deficiency. Making its debut in the 2004-05 season, he broke his team record for the youngest soccer player to score a league goal.Messi was born in Rosario, Santa Fe, parents Horacio Jorge Messi, a steel factory worker, and Celia María Cuccittini, part-time cleaner.
Messi was once romantically linked to the Macarena Lemos, also from his hometown of Rosario. He is said to have been introduced to her by the girl's father when he returned to Rosario to recover from his injury a few days before the start of World Cup in 2006. In 2007, Messi Leo Messi Foundation, a charitable organization to support access to education and health services for vulnerable children. In a fan interview, Messi said, "Being a little familiar now gives me the opportunity to help people who really need it, especially children."