Every footballing great has their nickname – Cristiano Ronaldo is known as ‘El Bicho’, whileCarles Puyol has been called ‘El Tiburon’.
One of Messi’s most famous nicknames is that of ‘La Pulga’, which means ‘the flea’ in Spanish.
Messi has been known as ‘La Pulga’ ever since he was a child, having been diagnosed withagrowth hormone deficiency at the age of 10.
His small stature and modest height earned him the nickname of ‘the flea’, but his reputation as a promising footballer even at his early age meant that he was known for his small size but huge talent.
Barcelona were able to provide Messi with the propertreatment which was completed by the time he turned 14and the rest, as they say, is history. Messi is one of the most celebrated players in Barcelona history and considered a club talisman.
Spanish outlets went a step further and began calling him ‘La Pulga Atomica’ the atomic flea as a means to describe how, despite being physically unimposing, still manages to have significant upper-body strength that allows him to physically dominate his opponents in challenges – while his quick footwork allows him to excel at dribbling.
His short, strong legs – he is not traditionally long-limbed or legged as other successful footballers are – allow him to accelerate across the pitch in quick bursts.
Another nickname for Messi is ‘Leo’, a shortened form of his full first name that is informally used by football figures, team-mates and pundits alike.
Messi was supposedly named after the singer Lionel Richie, the musician behind the well-known tracks “Hello” and “Truly”.
A less official nickname is, of course, the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest Of All Time), but that is a tag shared by former rival at Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo.
Football fans will also refer to Messi as ‘the Messiah’, a pun combining the words ‘Messi’ and ‘Messiah’ to truly illustrate his god-like prowess and skills on the pitch.
Source : goal.com