Messi has played alongside a number of world-class teammates throughout the years, including Ronaldinho, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, and Neymar, to mention a few. However, in recent years, the Argentine has had to bear the brunt of Barcelona's attacking burden.
The soft-spoken Messi has reportedly requested his club to sign several great players throughout the years, owing to his pedigree and clout at the club.
In no particular sequence, here are five of the best of them:
After two outstanding seasons at Inter Milan, Lautaro Martinez is one of the most sought-after strikers in the game. Martinez had a strong showing in the Copa America 2021, assisting Argentina's captain Messi in winning the tournament for the first time in nearly three decades.
According to Adrian Fernandez, who 'found' Martinez during a meeting with Sport last year, Messi reportedly chatted with his compatriot about the latter's move to Barcelona. In this sense, Fernandez stated:
"Messi called him and wants him by his side soon, I have no doubt. For that reason, the deal to sign him is almost there. I know things will go well in Barcelona and that Lautaro will be an excellent replacement for Suarez. He's the ideal heir. Thanks to Barca, he will continue to grow as a player and a man."
Lautaro also said:
“I was truly very close to joining Barcelona and I even talked it over with Messi,” he said.
“However, the Blaugrana had economic problems at that moment, so I decided to stay at Inter. It proved to be the right decision, especially as we then won the Scudetto."
After an acrimonious departure from Barcelona in the summer of 2017, Neymar has had an injury-plagued tenure at PSG and has hinted at a return to Camp Nou on multiple occasions. On his part, Messi is said to have instructed his club that they should do everything they can to bring the Brazilian back.
On this, Messi said:
"I say it many times, on a sporting level, Ney is one of the best in the world, and I would love for him to come back."
Angel Di Maria
Messi reportedly encouraged the Barcelona board to make a 'concerted' attempt to get his compatriot to Camp Nou three years after Di Maria departed Madrid. That was just a few months before Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain.
Di Maria said:
“I was very happy in Paris. But people at the club at the time told me some things, which turned out to be lies in the end. Barca tried to get me to come. The two clubs discussed, but PSG did not want to sell me and that ended there."
The two teenage Argentines earned their country's Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and have subsequently been prolific scorers for the senior team.
This summer, Aguero joined Barcelona on a free transfer. After the humiliating departure of Luis Suarez last summer, Messi reportedly urged his club to bring in Aguero.
The versatile Bayern Munich ace, who can play as a defensive midfielder or right-back, was reportedly one of three players 'demanded' by Messi, with Neymar and Milan Skriniar the other two.
Of course, none of the transfers happened, and Barcelona ended up with their first trophyless season in more than a decade after a 2-8 thrashing in the Champions League quarter-finals against Kimmich's Bayern Munich.
Messi would drop a bombshell a few weeks later, requesting to be freed from the club, but he would unwillingly stay. Messi, who is now a free agent, appears to be on the verge of being re-signed by Barcelona.