Did you know one of the keys to Barcelona signing a 12-year-old Lionel Messi in December 2000?
How do a citrus fruit and the question ‘how many juggles can Messi do?’ fit together in this article?
All will be explained in the next few minutes…
How Many Juggles Can Messi Do?
The total number of juggles Lionel Messi can do has never been fully documented, but we do know he juggled an orange 113 times and juggled a tennis ball 120 times in a video sent to Barcelona that lead to the club inviting him in for a trial and ultimately signing him.
If it wasn’t for an orange and a tennis ball Lionel Messi may never have signed for Barcelona.
Back at the start of the millennium Messi’s father Jorge knew he had a special talent on his hands, but he also knew that talent might never fully develop.
In 1999 an 11-year-old Messi had not grown for over two years and stood at 4 feet 4 inches. He had been diagnosed with Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) and was told without treatment he would probably not grow much taller.
Even the best player in the world would struggle to become a professional footballer if he was a good foot and a half shorter than his opponents.
Messi began a course of injections that could boost his height to that of an average male.
The problem was the cost of them was beyond the means of Messi’s steel worker father Jorge and cleaner mother Celia.
Neither of Argentina’s footballing giants River Plate or Newell’s Old Boys was prepared to help.
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And this is where fate and an orange and a tennis ball stepped in.
Jorge was put in touch with a football agent called Fabian Soldini, who would go on to become Messi’s first agent.
Soldini takes up the story: “I went to see Lionel and I gave him a kilo of oranges and a few tennis balls. I told him: ‘You train to juggle that and in a week and I will record you’.
A week later, Leo mastered his subject. He juggled 113 times with an orange and 120 times with a tennis ball. I sent it all to Barcelona who told me to bring him in quickly”.
The rumour goes that it took just seven minutes of his first training session for Carles Rexach, then the first team director and former Barca player, to see his worth and want to sign Messi.
And the rest is history!
Lionel Messi Can Juggle Anything
A 10-year-old Messi is caught on video juggling a football, surrounded by friends.
This video shows a young Messi juggling a football, a tennis ball and then an orange:
An adult Messi recreates the trick that got him a trial with Barcelona – casually juggling an orange.
An adult Messi juggles a football boot.
Lionel Messi is on a roll! Here he videos himself competing in the toilet paper juggling challenge that briefly was a craze in 2020
And here Messi effortlessly switches from juggling a football, to a tennis ball, to a golf ball and finally a football boot!
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What is the World Record for Juggling a Football?
There are actually a whole host of keepie-uppie-related records, and some of them are quite insane.
What is Longest Someone Has Ever Juggled a Football For?
Iranian Mehdi Hob Darvish juggled a football for 30 hours straight in 2010. As part of the record competitors are allowed a 5-minute break for every hour.
What is the Fastest Completed Marathon Whilst Juggling a Football?
In August 2016 Abraham Muñoz completed the México City Marathon (26.2miles/42.2km) in 5 hours 41 minutes whilst juggling a football. The ball never touched the ground during the entire period.
What is the Longest Distance Travelled Whilst Juggling a Football?
In January 2010 Dan Magness traveled 30 miles (48km) whilst juggling a football, without it ever touching the ground.
His journey took him to all five stadiums of London’s Premier League teams at the time, starting at Fulham’s Craven Cottage and ending at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane.
What is the Longest Distance Travelled in One Hour Whilst Juggling a Football?
In August 2020, Thomas Ruiz travelled 4.47miles (7.2km) in one hour whilst juggling a football and without it touching the ground.
Even more niche, the record for distance covered in an hour whilst juggling a football on ice is 2.95miles (4.75km)
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At the other end of the spectrum, the record for distance covered in an hour whilst juggling a football in the desert is 3.61 miles (5.82km).
Those two records were both achieved by John Farnworth in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
What is the Most Touches With Feet in 60 Seconds Whilst Juggling a Football?
Isaac Wood juggled the ball 274 times during his 60-second juggle in Melbourne, Australia in 2017.
What is the Most Touches With A Single Foot in 60 Seconds Whilst Juggling a Football?
Vignesh Mrithyunjay Amblimath of India, juggled the ball 213 times with just his right leg in 60-seconds in June 2021.
What is the Most Touches With the Head in 60 Seconds Whilst Juggling a Football?
Former Cuban football player Erick Hernandez set a world record of 351 touches with the ball on his head in just one minute in Havana, Cuba in 2022.
What is the Longest Time Someone Has Ever Headed a Football For?
Swede Tomas Lundman, kept a football off of the floor using just his head for 8 hours 32 minutes and 3 seconds in Lidingo, Sweden in 2004.
We probably will never know the total amount of times Lionel Messi could juggle the ball, but it would be a lot!
Some of the videos above showcase his supreme control over much more difficult objects to juggle such as tennis balls, golf balls and especially football boots!
Whether he could break any of the above world records remains to be seen.
But we know for sure that the world record holders above could never break any of the numerous records Messi has set over the years!
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