16
Oct

#TBT: Lionel Messi’s La Liga debut

Ten years ago Thursday, Lionel Messi was handed his La Liga debut for Barcelona by then-manager Frank Rijkaard. Only 17, the baby-faced Argentinian played all of eight minutes coming off the bench for Deco against Espanyol, becoming the second-youngest in club history to wear the Blaugrana kit.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Take a look at Messi throughout the years by heading here!

10
Sep

Lionel Messi’s hometown bans parents from naming newborns ‘Messi’

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You probably haven’t heard of Hector Varela but he is the proud father of Messi. Not Lionel Messi, but Messi Daniel Varela. Hector needed two weeks to get special permission from the authorities in the south Argentinian region of Rio Grande (Patagonia) to name his son after the Barcelona maestro. 

That news has prompted Rosario, the hometown of the original Messi, to ban the use of Lionel’s surname as a first name because it would be too confusing.

The director of the Civil Register of the Santa Fe province, Gonzalo Carrillo, insists naming a new-born son Messi is “against the law” although he accepts the Messi Daniel Varela case may upset his plans.

However, proud father Hector is delighted that he got through the red tape. He told Mundo Deportivo: “I am Messi’s father. Many people chose Lionel as a name for their sons after Messi, but this is more obvious.”

Another Messi is born, but how many more will follow?

Image used from Getty.

(H/T Deadspin)

5
Aug

Lionel Messi’s haircut is … subpar

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What’s going on here? Does Messi still get $10 haircuts?

That fade is just horrendous!

Fine, not every footballer needs to take his follicles as seriously as Cristiano Ronaldo, but surely he can do better than this!

We bet Antonella would appreciate it as well …

imageImages via Getty

19
Jul

Clint Dempsey earns spot on FIFA 15 Cover

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Seattle forward Clint Dempsey returned from the World Cup to find out he had landed another honor: a place on the cover of FIFA 2015.

Dempsey is the first American player to land on the cover of the game since Landon Donovan in 2011. He will share the duties with Lionel Messi when the game hits the shelves in September.

"It’s crazy," Dempsey said in a phone interview on Friday. "It’s really cool. I was a fan of the game growing up, playing with my friends. Going from playing the game with my friends to being able to play with my own player in the game and now being on the cover, it’s something that’s pretty special. It’s an honor."

It is also a sign of Dempsey’s cultural relevance in a World Cup year and the increasing influence of MLS on the whole. The popularity of the game — and the presence of the U.S. captain on the cover of it — offers yet another entry point for emerging fans. If Dempsey’s presence prompts more players to opt for MLS sides instead of Barcelona or Real Madrid, then it is exactly the sort of development that can help the league moving forward.

Those broader concerns matter in the long term for a league still seeking to expand its foothold among the general population, but the cachet afforded by Dempsey’s place on the cover reaps immediate benefits, too.  

"I’m super excited that Clint’s on the cover," Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin said. "I think the fans not only in Seattle, but throughout America will really like it and appreciate because Clint is such a familiar face in soccer, especially in America. I think everybody’s really going to like it. I’m excited to see the response."

Dempsey dons his Sounders FC alternate jersey on the XBox version of the cover (Seattle has the Xbox logo on the front of its kits) and wears his international jersey on the PS4 cover.

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Photos courtesy of EA Sports

22
Jun

Samsung wishes Landon Donovan good luck today against Portugal

Whoever is running the Samsung Middle East Twitter feed is having a rough day.

They’ve apparently forgotten who actually made the US World Cup squad.

Whoops!

The corporate account was sending good wishes to some of the stars sponsored by the tech company including Cristiano Ronalso, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney. They just never updated their ad campaign when Donovan was cut.

Donovan is only marginally included in Samsung’s video to go with the advertising, which was tweeted out on June 19.

(See him way in the back, fourth from the left?)

One wonders how much they had to re-edit that video.

19
Jun

Brazilian TV station creates terrifying animatronic Lionel Messi

You’ve been warned.

Brazilian TV station Globo has designed a horrifying animatronic version of Lionel Messi.

Words cannot do it justice, so take a look for yourself:

The robot version of the Argentine star is being used in pre- and postgame TV coverage of the World Cup. It also interacts with (traumatized) fans.

We’re sorry, but you just can’t unsee that.

(h/t NESN)