15 Famous Lionel Messi Nicknames and Their Origins

As one of the most influential footballers of his generation, Lionel Andrés Messi, a seven-time Balon d’Or winner, has picked up several nicknames in his illustrious career.

Most of Messi’s nicknames are from his time at Barcelona F.C., where he spent most of his football career. Lionel Messi holds the record for the highest number of appearances for the club, which currently stands at an impressive 778 games. He scored 672 goals and recorded 266 assists, which adds up to 938 goal involvements for the Blaugranas in 778 games.

Obviously, with such breathtaking numbers, most of the nicknames of Lionel Messi are nicknames that signify his greatness. Although there are some funny Lionel Messi nicknames, mostly bestowed on him by critics or football fans who prefer Cristiano Ronaldo to Messi.

Popular Lionel Messi Nicknames

Messi’s nicknames will be listed according to their popularity, starting with his most famous nickname, “La Pulga.”

1. La Pulga

La Pulga is Spanish for “Flea.” This nickname has stuck with Messi ever since he was a child. The nickname refers to his small stature and modest height, which result from a growth hormone deficiency he was diagnosed with at the age of 10. La Pulga is Messi’s most popular nickname.

2. G.O.A.T.

The acronym G.O.A.T. means “Greatest of All Time.” The G.O.A.T. title belongs to the best football player to ever play the sport, and a considerable number of people think that Messi deserves this title.

3. La Pulga Atomica

La Pulga Atomica translates to “the Atomic Flea.” La Pulga Atomica was given to Messi by the Spanish media to describe his incredible upper-body strength. Despite Messi’s diminutive body stature, his great upper-body strength helps him stave off more physical opponents and ride off their challenges.

4. Leo

Leo is simply a shortened form of Lionel, Messi’s first name. Messi is named after the great American singer Lionel Richie, the singer behind well-known tracks like “Hello” and “Stuck on You.”

5. The Messiah

This nickname combines “Messi” and “Messiah” to illustrate his god-like dominance and magical trickery on the pitch.

6. Messidona

Messidona was coined as a comparison to his fellow Argentine great, Diego Maradona.

7. Football Demon

Football Demon refers to the fact that he has done things so often that most people thought were impossible for a human being.

8. Alien

Alien is inspired by Messi’s ability to pull off the unthinkable.

9. The Magician

Messi’s movement with the ball, passes, dribbles, and goals often look impossible until he effortlessly pulls them off!

10. Little Genius

Little Genius refers to his stature and, quite frankly, his Genius.

11. Idolo

Idolo is a Spanish word for “idol.” It is used to characterize someone who is greatly loved. It is why Idolo is used as a nickname for Lionel Messi.

12. LM7

LM7 is a nickname that references Messi’s 7 Ballon d’Or awards. These are the initials of his first and last names. “7” is for the number of Ballon d’Or awards he has won.

Funny Nicknames of Lionel Messi

Most of the nicknames in this category were given to him by rival fans and people who disagree with Messi’s status as the greatest footballer of all time.

13.   Pessi

This nickname mocks Messi’s underwhelming penalty conversion rate.

14. Midget

Midget is an offensive term for a short person. Rival fans often use it to mock Lionel Messi’s diminutive stature.

15. Ankara Messi

Joaquim Maria Puyal was on commentary duties for the 2006-07 Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg fixture between FC Barcelona and Getafe, where Messi scored a spectacular goal in FC Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Getafe.

The phrase “Ankara Messi” (“encarar Messi”) means “Messi faces.” Spanish Commentator, Joaquim Maria Puyal was incredulously describing to the audience that the ball was still somehow with Messi as he jinxed past four defenders and the goalkeeper before slotting the ball in the back of the net.

It famously became one of Messi’s famous and funniest nicknames – “Ankara Messi.”

Is there any Lionel Messi Nickname I missed? Tell us the nickname and where you first came across the nickname.

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Damilola Oshinowo is a versatile writer, possessing an innate mastery of the captivating power of words. He has diligently honed his craft across diverse genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
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