Things might have turned out very differently for Barca and their star had one agent made a move to the Spanish capital years ago
Imagine how different things could have been.
If Horacio Gaggioli had not moved to Barcelona, Lionel Messi could have been playing for bitter rivals and La Liga champions Real Madrid, rather than putting together one of the best careers of all time with the Blaugrana.
Barca’s all-time leading goalscorer Messi arrived at Camp Nou as a 13-year-old from Rosario, thanks to the help of fellow Argentinian and agent Gaggioli.
Gaggioli was involved in Messi’s relocation to Spain to join Barca and the former Newell’s Old Boys youngster has gone to reach the greatest heights any player can reach on the club level, having won five Ballon d’Or, eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns among other trophies with the Catalan giants.
However, Messi – celebrating his 30th birthday on Saturday – could have signed for Madrid as a teenager if Gaggioli had moved to the Spanish capital instead.
“Due to life circumstances, I went to live in Barcelona and I brought him to Barca for a trial. But I was about to live in Madrid,” Gaggioli told Globoesporte .
“If that had happened, I would have taken him to Madrid for a trial. That’s life, those are the details.
“Today, Messi could have been a Real Madrid player, of course. The family wanted to come to Spain, to the city where I was to have some support.”
The revelation leaves plenty to the imagination, like the possibility of Messi playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale rather than Neymar and Luis Suarez, but history will show that the decision to join Barcelona worked out for the Argentina ace.
Gaggioli also says that he had doubts about Messi when they first met, but that his fears were quickly put to bed by the prodigious talent.
“When I saw him at the airport, I thought that boy could not be a footballer, because he was too small and skinny,” he said.
“I did not have a good impression. But when I saw him training in the Barca fields, I realised that he was a great player, who could play without a doubt.”