Lionel Messi and how Onboarding can set the stage for Greatness

Appical Team
Mario García de León
December 28, 2022
min read
Table of Contents
On September 17, 2000, the story of Lionel Messi and Football Club Barcelona began. At just 13 years old, Messi traveled to Barcelona accompanied by his father to join La Masia Academy (FC Barcelona academy). Now, more than 20 years later, Messi is considered one of the best players of all time. Let's explore how he got there, and how the onboarding process helped him succeed!


At the La Masia Academy, Messi received top-level training and coaching from experienced professionals, as well as the opportunity to compete against and learn from other talented young players.

The academy's focus on developing technical skills, tactical understanding, and a team-oriented approach to the game had a significant impact on Messi's development as a player. He also benefited from the academy's emphasis on character development and discipline, which helped him to mature and grow as a person as well as a player.

Overall, La Masia played a crucial role in helping Messi to become the world-class player he is today, and the academy's reputation for producing top-quality players continues to this day.


Messi made his first team debut for FC Barcelona under Pep Guardiola's management in 2004, and over the following years, he became a key player for the team. Guardiola played a crucial role in nurturing and developing Messi's talent, and he helped him to adapt to the demands of professional football.

Guardiola's management style emphasized possession-based attacking football, and he played Messi in a free role that allowed him to roam across the pitch and create goalscoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. This style of play suited Messi's strengths and allowed him to flourish as a player.

From that moment on, Messi's career at FC Barcelona took off. His talent and skill on the pitch were undeniable, and he quickly became one of the best players in the world. Over the years, Messi has won numerous accolades and accomplishments with FC Barcelona and the Argentinian national team, including 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey titles, 4 UEFA Champions League titles and, the most important one, the FIFA World Cup title.

Overall, the onboarding of Leo Messi at FC Barcelona has been a highly successful and influential one, both for the club and for the player himself. His talent and dedication have helped to make him one of the greatest players of all time, and his contributions to FC Barcelona will always be remembered by fans and football enthusiasts.

What can we learn from Lionel's onboarding experience?

Lionel Messi's onboarding experience as a professional player can offer several lessons for other aspiring professionals in any field. Some key takeaways from Messi's experience include:

  1. Start early: Messi began his professional career at a young age, joining the youth academy at FC Barcelona at the age of 13. This allowed him to receive high-quality training and coaching from an early age and to develop his skills and abilities over time.
  2. Take advantage of opportunities: Messi was fortunate to be identified by FC Barcelona as a talented young player and given the opportunity to join the club's academy. He made the most of this opportunity, working hard and taking advantage of the resources and support provided to him.
  3. Persevere and adapt: Despite facing challenges and setbacks along the way, Messi remained dedicated to his craft and continued to work hard to improve as a player. He also learned to adapt to new environments and situations as he progressed through his career.
  4. Seek out strong role models: Messi was fortunate to have experienced mentors and coaches who supported and guided him during his early years as a professional player. He learned from these role models and was able to apply their teachings to his own development as a player.

What are the benefits of having a great onboarding experience?

  1. Improved retention: A well-designed onboarding process can help new employees (and football players) feel welcomed and supported, which can improve their job satisfaction and commitment to the organization. This can reduce employee turnover and help retain top talent like Messi.
  2. Increased productivity: A thorough onboarding process can help new employees understand their roles and responsibilities, which can lead to higher productivity. This can be especially important for top talent like Messi, who is expected to make a significant impact on the team.
  3. Enhanced organizational culture: A positive onboarding experience can help new employees understand and embrace the culture of the organization, which can contribute to a positive and cohesive team environment. This can be beneficial for retaining top talent like Messi, who may be more likely to stay with a club that has a strong and supportive culture.
  4. Improved reputation: A successful onboarding process can help an organization establish a reputation as a good place to work, which can attract top talent in the future. This can be especially important for a club like FC Barcelona, which competes with other top clubs for top talent.

Would you like to learn more about #onboarding? Follow #Appical on LinkedIn for exclusive content! 

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