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Lionel Messi May Leave FC Barcelona

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Soccer legend Lionel Messi could be leaving the soccer club he joined when he was just 13 years old. The superstar is now 33, and he is still playing for FC Barcelona. Earlier this week, Messi informed the team he wanted out.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Few stars stay with one club as long as Messi has been with Barcelona, and few have achieved such success. His first goal for the organization's top team came in 2005.

(SOUNDBITE ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTIN: A young Messi came into the game late as a substitute. He wore number 30 then; today it's 10. After a pass from the star nicknamed Ronaldinho, Messi looped a graceful touch over the goalkeeper's head. And...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: (Speaking Spanish).

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: (Speaking Spanish).

INSKEEP: It was the first of Messi's 634 goals for Barcelona. Or should I say goooooals (ph) for Barcelona?

Anyway, he's won the Ballon d'Or, regarded as the most prestigious individual award for global soccer, six times. Maybe the only thing Messi has not accomplished is winning a World Cup with his home country Argentina.

MARTIN: Barcelona got knocked out of this year's Champions League tournament between Europe's top club teams. It was an embarrassing 8-2 loss. One game earlier, Messi scored a goal after nearly getting knocked down. It could be his last for his longtime club.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #2: And coming up with the ball, Lionel Messi - oh, he hasn't, has he?

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #2: He is just a conjurer, a ripper-up of reason, a dream machine.

INSKEEP: Barcelona still seems to want their superstar. A club official told The Associated Press, we want to rebuild for the future together with the best player in history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ENEMIES' "MOESHA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.