Lionel Messi has recalled his first senior Barcelona game as a 'dream come true' in a Barca TV programme specially made to commemorate the event's 10th anniversary.
Messi was given his first team Barca debut 10 years ago this week by Frank Rijkaard, coming on a substitute to play the last 15 minutes of a friendly against a Porto side managed by current Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
The Argentine says in the Barca TV programme 'El dia que va debutar el 10' that day was a dream come true.
"Nov. 16, 2003 is a very important date for me," Messi said. "Because that’s when I was able to make my childhood dream come true -- it was a very happy day for me. I’d fought hard to make that moment happen and it was really special."
Messi, who was aged just 16 years and 145 days and playing for Barca’s Youth A team, was surprised when then academy team coordinator Josep Colomer told him he was going to Portugal with senior squad members such as Luis Enrique, Xavi Hernandez and Rafael Marquez.
"I remember that we were training with the Youth A team and when it finished, Colomer talked to me about a few things and then told me that I would be travelling with the first team," he recalled. "He told me that I should just go and enjoy the game and the experience, but when I came back I should concentrate on the Youth A team."
Messi’s parents and his then A team coach Juan Carlos Perez Rojo offered some sage advice at the time.
"They said I should enjoy everything I was doing and that there was no reason to make any change -- I should just continue in the same way."
Looking back now, a decade later having won three Champions League trophies, four Ballon d’Or awards and also become a father, Messi says he does not feel he has changed too much over the years.
"I think that I continue to be the same person," he said. "I see things in the same way, though I have grown and learnt how to value things."
Messi is currently sidelined by a thigh muscle tear, and not due to play again until January 2014.