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Very few names in the sporting world come as internationally renowned as Lionel Messi. The remarkable Argentine striker has FC Barcelona Blaugrana ingrained in his DNA.

Though diminutive in size, his dominating play and spirit has helped his club win titles, cups, and elevated his own status as one of the best players in the world. In one decade, Messi has aided FC Barcelona to six league titles, two Copa del Reys and three UEFA Champions League titles, among many more victories and personal awards.

Thursday marked the ten year anniversary of Messi’s debut in La Liga play. On October 16, 2004, at the Montjuic Stadium against cross-town rival RCD Espanyol in Barcelona, then-manager Frank Rijkaard sent in the then 17-year-old Messi in for eight minutes for Portuguese legend Deco. At the time, he was the second-youngest player to debut for the club. Who would have known that ten years, 284 games, a club record 249 goals and 100 assists later, Messi would have attained global sporting idol status? At age 27, Messi’s status continues to grow even further.

Lionel Messi thanked his many fans on social media sites Facebook and Instagram. He shared this status to his nearly 75 million followers on Facebook: “I want to thank all my family, friends, colleagues and the entire staff of FC Barcelona for all their support in these 10 wonderful years. I always enjoy wearing the Barça colours on the pitch along with every beautiful moment. I just want to keep getting better and win more titles for the team. A big hug to everyone!”

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With many more records to shatter and history to make, Messi will be closing in on Athletic Bilbao icon Telmo Zarra’s all-time La Liga goals record of 251. FC Barcelona plays host to SD Eibar on Saturday.

“World