† Appearances (Goals).
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, OIH (born 5 February 1985), commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and who serves as captain of the Portuguese national team. He became the most expensive footballer in history upon his 2009 move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer worth £80 million (€94 million/$131.6 million), a record that would later be reportedly broken by Gareth Bale, who joined Real Madrid in 2013 for £85 million (€100 million). Ronaldo's contract with Real Madrid, under the terms of which he is paid €21 million per year (after taxes), makes him the highest-paid footballer in the world, and his buyout clause is valued at €1 billion as per his contract.
Association football, commonly known as soccer or football, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by using any part of the body besides the arms and hands to get the football into the opposing goal.
The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play and then only in their penalty area. Outfield players mostly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may use their head or torso to strike the ball instead. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is tied at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time and/or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. The Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) which organises a World Cup every four years.
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champions are Spain, who won the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month; this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).
Football is the most popular sport in Spain. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (Real Federación Española de Fútbol) is the national governing body and it organises La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Spain national football team, current champion of the FIFA World Cup. Modern football was introduced to Spain in the late 19th century by a combination of mostly British immigrant workers, visiting sailors and Spanish students coming from Britain.
The oldest football club in Spain is Recreativo de Huelva, formed on December 23, 1889 by Dr. Mackey and British workers employed by the Rio Tinto Company. Although Gimnàstic de Tarragona was formed in 1886 and Sevilla FC in 1890, the clubs did not form an actual football team until 1914 and 1905, respectively. The first official football game played in Spain took place in Seville on March 8, 1890 at the Tablada Hippodrome. Recreativo de Huelva played against Sevilla FC, a team made up of workers from the Seville Water Works. With the exception of two Spanish players on the Huelva team, all the players on both teams were British. This is the reason why the team is called Sevilla FC (football club) and not Sevilla CF (club de fútbol, in Spanish correct way). The Seville team won 2-0.
† Appearances (Goals).
Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾes ˈmesi]; born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward for La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He serves as the captain of his country's national football team. By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year, in 2009, he won his first Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He followed this up by winning the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010, and then again in 2011 & 2012. He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. At the age of 24, Messi became Barcelona's all-time top scorer in all official club competitions. At age 25, Messi became the youngest player to score 200 La Liga goals.
In 2009–10, Futbol Club Barcelona started the new season with the prospect of winning six major competitions in the 2009–2010 season. They contested for the Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, Copa del Rey, La Liga, and the UEFA Champions League. During the summer transfer window, the club swapped their top league goal scorer during the treble season, Samuel Eto'o to Italy's Internazionale in exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimović, along with €49 million, bringing the total to €69 million, which currently makes it second on the highest transfer fees in football history (third, after Zinedine Zidane's transfer to Real Madrid in 2001 when adjusted for inflation).
On 16 May, Barcelona claimed its 20th league title with a then-record 99 points via a 4–0 victory over relegated side Valladolid to finish their 2009–10 season with four titles.
The 2010–11 season was Futbol Club Barcelona's 111th in existence and the club's 80th consecutive season in the top flight of Spanish football. Barcelona will start the season with a new President after Joan Laporta reached his term limit on 30 June, leaving behind a very successful club tenure.
Sandro Rosell was elected President on 13 June by securing a record total of 35,021 votes (61.35%), more than the 27,138 achieved by Laporta in 2003. Rosell began his tenure on 1 July as the 39th President in Barcelona's history.