Who is Diego Lainez?
Commonly referred to as the ‘Mexican Messi’, Diego Lainez is a young and talented professional football/soccer player from Mexico. He’s garnered attention and praise for his exceptional skills, dribbling ability, and playing style, which has drawn comparisons to the legendary Argentine footballer Lionel Messi.
His exceptional talent quickly caught the eye of scouts and coaches, and he rapidly progressed through the ranks of the youth system. Diego currently plays as a winger for the club known world-wide as Tigres UANL or Tigres de México (Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León); he also plays for the Mexican national team.
Early life, family, and education
Born Diego Lainez Leyva under the zodiac sign of Gemini on 9 June 2000, in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, he was raised by his parents, Mauro Lainez and Mary del Carmen Leyva de la O, alongside his older brothe, Mauro, also a professional football player, who plays for the Liga MX club, América. The youngest one is their sister, Daniela. Their father, Mauro, also played football professionally when he was younger, but is now a successful businessman, while their mother, Mary is a homemaker.
It seems that the Lainez family is very close and supportive. Diego often posts photos of his family with captions full of love and gratitude.
Diego had an interest in football from an early age, going with his brother to a football field near their neighborhood, where they would play for hours. Since childhood, his idol has been Messi.
When it comes to Diego’s educational background, he attended a local high school, and upon matriculating in 2018, he didn’t go to college but pursued his career as a football player.
Diego Lainez’s journey in football began at a young age when he joined the youth academy of Club América, one of the most successful and popular football clubs in Mexico.
Diego’s breakthrough moment came when he made his professional debut for Club América’s senior team in March 2017. He was just 16 years old at the time. His dynamic playing style, quick feet, and ability to take on defenders, drew comparisons to Messi, earning him the nickname ‘Mexican Messi’ or ‘Messi Mexicano’ among fans and the media. Like Messi, Diego has a low center of gravity, which enables him to change direction quickly, and maneuver through tight spaces.
During his time at Club América, Diego continued to impress with his performances, contributing goals and assists while showcasing his dribbling prowess. He became a fan favorite, and attracted interest not only from within Mexico, but also from European clubs.
Diego Lainez (18) joins Real Betis from Club América.
• €14m fee
• Five-year contract
We love the player. We love this move. pic.twitter.com/Ah05FcQoKG
— SCOUTED (@scoutedftbl) January 10, 2019
Rise to fame
In January 2019, Diego made a significant move to Europe by joining Spanish club Real Betis, seen as a crucial step in his career development, allowing him to test his skills in one of the top leagues in the world, La Liga. Although the transition to European football posed challenges, Diego’s potential and flair on the field remained evident. Reportedly, he’s signed a five-year contract worth $14 million.
In July 2022, Diego joined club Braga in the Primeira Liga also known as Liga Portugal, on a season-long loan. He made his debut on 12 August 2022 during the game with Famalicão, entering as a substitute in the 73rd minute. Six days later, Diego scored his first (and so far only) goal with the club during the game with Arouca. However, after failing to make an impact at the club, Diego’s loan deal ended early.
In January 2023, Diego joined Tigres de México on a one-year loan. In July 2023, the club paid his release clause and his move became permanent.
Diego Lainez has represented the Mexican national team at various levels. He made his debut for the senior national team on 11 September 2018, in a friendly match against the United States. He has since been part of Mexico’s squads for international competitions, including The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup.
Diego was named in the national team’s preliminary 31-man squad for the 2022 World Cup, however, he didn’t make the final 26.
According to football experts, Diego Lainez is known for his agility, quick acceleration, and ability to beat defenders in one-on-one situations. He’s an adept dribbler who can create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. His vision, passing accuracy and flair make him a potent attacking threat, capable of producing moments of magic on the field.
Love life and relationships
Specific details about Diego Lainez’s personal life, beyond his football career, have been kept relatively private; it’s common for athletes to maintain a level of privacy concerning their personal matters. Although there have been various rumors about his dating history, this youngster stays tight-lipped about his romantic life.
His Instagram account, which has been followed by nearly two million people, also doesn’t reveal much; Diego mostly posts photos related to his football career and his family.
As of August 2023, it seems that Diego is single.
Five interesting facts about Diego Lainez
To date, he is the youngest football player to emigrate from the Liga MX, and the second most expensive transfer paid for a player from Mexico by a European club.
On TikTok, videos related to his name all combined have gained nearly 1.5 billion views.
Diego is an animal lover, with dogs and horses being his favorite. He has a pet dog, a Pomeranian.
He loves to travel with his family.
Diego dreams of playing at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup with his national team.
Age, height, and net worth
Diego recently celebrated his 23rd birthday; he has black hair and dark brown eyes. He stands at the height of 5ft 6ins (1.67m), and weighs around 140lbs (64kgs). Diego is just one inch shorter than Lionel Messi.
According to sources, Diego’s salary while he played for Real Betis was around $2.8 million per year. When he joined Tigres de México, the club paid $8 million for his transfer. When it comes to Diego’s net worth, it has been estimated at $7.5 million, as of August 2023.