By Suhas BhatFollow @@suhasrbhat
The diminutive forward has made a name for himself through his goals and it is these that arguably imprint his legend onto our collective consciousness.
He's scored headers, tap-ins, long-range shots, volleys, penalties, free-kicks and chips - you name it and Messi has scored it in games of big and small consequence.
Lionel Messi vs Getafe, April 2007
It was this goal that catapulted Messi into stardom. Although he was already known as one of the most promising talents in world football, Messi showed he was more than just a prodigy as he singlehandedly dribbled through an entire Getafe half, making a mockery of the efforts of four defenders as well as the goalkeeper.
It was also notable in that Diego Maradona, who has since bestowed Messi as being his heir apparent, scored in a similar fashion in the 1986 World Cup against England. It was later credited as "the Goal of the Century" while Messi's effort from this Copa del Rey semi-final could give it a good run for its money.
The animated repetition of "Messi, Messi, Messi, Messi, Messi" (for a total of 21 times in 14 seconds) by Catalan commentator Joaquim Maria Puyal only served to add the auditory complement to a visual feast.
Lionel Messi vs Manchester United, May 2009
His low centre of gravity and immaculate first touch allows him to dart between players with lightning speed and terrific agility. But it's not uncommon to see Messi score goals through a more traditional route and that's how he scored the second and, arguably, the deciding goal against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final.
Billed as the clash between the two premier players of the day in Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Argentinean player came out on top.
Lionel Messi vs Arsenal, April 2010
"He's [like] a PlayStation. He can take advantage of every mistake we make," commented Arsene Wenger after Messi scored four goals past his side at the Camp Nou, including three before half-time with the third his trademark chip when one-on-one with a goalkeeper.
It was the Champions League quarter-final second leg and the Gunners had held the Catalans 2-2 in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium.
The 23-year-old scored the hat-trick via a long-range strike, two chips over the goalkeeper for the second and third and scored the fourth through Manuel Almunia's legs (who he even had to console after the game!).
Messi taught the English side, as he has done to many other sides, that he's a class above the rest and that no lead or advantage is safe as long as he is in form. And he always seems to be.
Lionel Messi vs Real Madrid, April 2011
The two arch-rivals in Barcelona and Real Madrid faced off in the Champions League semi-final and Messi once again stole the show with a piece of individual brilliance.
Sergio Busquets was credited with the assist although, humorously, all he did was stop the ball and let Messi take it off his feet and watch on as the maestro made a 40-yard run slicing the expensively-assembled Real Madrid defence apart.
Messi initially outraced his marker, made a quick turn to his right and burst past two defenders and, after getting into the area, breezed past Marcelo before the latter could even think of making a challenge and hit a left-footed shot across the face of the goal past a hapless Iker Casillas.
Scored in the 87th minute to complete a 2-0 victory on the night (he had earlier scored the first), the then-FIFA Ballon d'Or winner did just about enough to make the second leg at the Camp Nou a relatively straightforward affair.
Lionel Messi vs Atletico Madrid, February 2012
Free-kicks come in various forms but while Ronaldo may go for power, Messi almost always prefers precision. His best free-kick, in my opinion, was one from the left corner of the penalty box in this La Liga fixture against Atletico Madrid.
The angle was so narrow and it needed the perfect arch to trick the goalkeeper into thinking the shot would go over the bar only to dip wickedly at the last second and nestle into the right side-netting.
Thibaut Courtois' outstretched hands in the aftermath of the goal made it seem like he was asking his team-mates, "How do you expect me to stop that?"
Oh, he would go on to score five goals against Bayer Leverkusen two games later as well.