Lionel Andrés Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, footballer of all time.
Born and raised in Argentina, he moved to Spain in 2001 at the age of 13 where he spent the next 20 years of his life before joining Paris St Germain in 2021.
With so much notoriety, there are many definitely unanswered questions about the little wizard, including "How many languages does Lionel Messi speak?"
In this article, let's take a look at your language skills.
1 How many languages does Lionel Messi speak?
1.1 Does Lionel Messi speak Spanish?
1.2 Does Lionel Messi speak Catalan?
1.3 Does Lionel Messi speak English?
1.4 Does Lionel Messi speak French?
1.5 Does Lionel Messi speak other languages?
1.6 Final Considerations
Spanish is the only language Lionel Messi speaks fluently. He has said himself that he understands Catalan too, but has only spoken it once in public, very briefly at drunken La Liga celebrations in 2009! In 2021, he said he had been learning English for 18 months but understood more than he spoke.
Does Lionel Messi speak Spanish?
The only language we can say without a doubt that Lionel Messi speaks is Spanish.
Messi was born on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. Argentina does not have an official language, but essentially Spanish is spoken by almost all Argentines.
The language is used in all public institutions, so Messi would have grown up speaking Spanish.
So naturally in February 2001 she moved to Barcelona where Spanish is the main language again.
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As such, he spent his entire adult life in a Spanish-speaking country until his move to PSG in 2021.
I'm not an expert in Spanish but I've read that many people who speak Spanish say they have a hard time understanding Messi.
This is mainly because he has retained his heavy Argentinean accent; There are five main dialectal varieties of Spanish in Argentina that differ greatly from those spoken in Spain.
So Messi's Spanish sounds different than what you might hear from someone born and raised in Spain, but he is obviously fluent in the language.
Does Lionel Messi speak Catalan?
Okay, this is where it gets a little more confusing.
Barcelona is a city in the region of Catalonia that has its own language called Catalan.
According to a 2013 census, Catalan is understood by 95% of Barcelona's population, while around 72% of the population over the age of 2 speaks it, 79% reads it and 53% writes it.
Since the Catalan Education Law of 2009, it has also been the main language in schools and colleges in Barcelona.
Given that Lionel Messi moved to Barcelona in February 2001 at the age of 13 and lived there until 2021, it seems reasonable to assume that he speaks Catalan, except for one thing...
Apart from one minor incident, Messi has never been recorded speaking Catalan.
That one event was when Barça celebrated the 2009 LaLiga title with a parade of open-topped buses.
A drunk Messi took the microphone(under)and shouted in Catalan: "Visca el Barça, visca Catalunya la stamina Argentina, la concha de su madre!", which means "Long live Barça, long live Catalonia and Argentina!".
Also in an interview with Spanish television(under)Messi himself says he speaks Catalan but prefers speaking Spanish.
in onenewspaper interviewIn 2018, Messi was asked about his relationship with Barcelona and the region.
He spoke about his two children (the interview was just before the birth of his third child, Ciro), and how "they have Argentinian roots but all their routines are Catalan".
When asked if they speak Catalan at home, he commented: "Yes little [Mateo], he speaks a lot of things. Thiago less. I understand everything. "
To add even more confusion to the matter in 2019Catalan journalist Marc Mosullspoke about the tensions in Catalonia and their impact on Spanish football when he said:
"Nobody expects Messi to say anything about independence or the right to decide. In fact, he doesn't speak Catalan.
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That's why Lionel Messi himself says he speaks Catalan but prefers to speak Spanish.
But considering the fact that he only spoke about it once and only for a few sentences, it might be more accurate to follow his quote when he spoke about his children.
He understands Catalan but is not fluent in it.
Does Lionel Messi speak English?
This could be a bit clearer. It definitely seems like Messi understands English and even speaks rudimentary phrases in basic English, but that's about it.
In fact, Messi himself confirmed it while preparing an interview he wanted to conduct with Spanish journalist Guillem Balague.
How they spoke before the interview.(under)The conversation started in earnest and went something like this (in Spanish):
- Guillem Balogue:"You wouldn't have time to learn English either."
- Lionel Messi:"I've been learning English for a year and a half... when you're in England you learn out of necessity."
- Guillem Balogue:"So you understand more than you speak?"
- Lionel Messi:"Yes exactly. I understand, but I'm not speaking."
Around the same time, Messi's former Barcelona teammate Sergino Dest said he heard Messi speak bad English.
Interestingly, the interview with Balogue was in 2021. It seems Messi's ability to understand and speak limited English may have improved in recent years, as Ronaldo joked at the 2015 Ballon d'Or ceremony that he was for Messi and Neymar translated. when they stood on the stage and said:
"When we were on stage, neither Messi nor Neymar spoke English and I was their translator. I spoke to them later and told them not to forget to pay me later for the translation.”
So I think it's safe to conclude that he now understands English and can speak a few words, but to say he "speaks" the language would be an overstatement.
Does Lionel Messi speak French?
It seems that Lionel Messi doesn't speak French and has limited language skills.
French journalist Geoffroy Garétier revealed that Messi and his family took French lessons, but there is no evidence that he speaks the language or understands it to a large extent.
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Previously, all Paris Saint-Germain players were required to speak French, but this requirement no longer exists.
If Messi stays at the Parc des Princes he might learn to understand and speak French, but for now it's safe to say he's limited in both abilities.
Does Lionel Messi speak other languages?
No, "La Pulga", as it is called, does not speak any other language.
For such a talented player, Messi is very shy and introverted and would rather avoid the spotlight than be the center of attention like some players do.
Her determination to stay out of the limelight, therefore, makes it difficult to say for sure which languages she definitely speaks.
We know that you have never interviewed in any language other than your native language, Spanish, and both your English and French are very basic.
He probably understands a lot of Catalan but has never spoken it in public (apart from one drunk moment!).
Therefore we can safely conclude that you speak and understand Spanish well and understand Catalan and probably speak it at an elementary/intermediate level.
But who needs to speak multiple languages when your feet speak like Messi!
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