Today marks the 30th birthday of Argentine sensation and Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi, a man who has often been hailed as the greatest to have ever laced a pair of footballing boots. The diminutive Argentine has captured the imagination of millions worldwide and has done so repeatedly over more than a decade.
However, on his birthday, there is a slight anecdote from his past that had the potential to change footballing history, as we know it. Horacio Gaggioli is a name, not everyone has heard of but the man from Rosario has an interesting story to tell.
The Argentine is none other than the man responsible for Messi’s move from Newell’s Old Boys to Barcelona in 2000, Messi’s first agent if you may call him. Gaggioli talks about a time when he was still trying hard to land Messi a trial with Barcelona and how it could have been Real Madrid instead.
Speaking in an interview with Globoesporte, as quoted by Sport, Gaggioli said: “Due to life circumstances, I went to live in Barcelona and I brought him to Barça for a trial. But I was about to live in Madrid. 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.”
Messi suffered from a growth hormone deficiency from his childhood, which required expensive treatment. At the age of 13, Newell’s Old Boys informed Messi’s family of their inability to provide funds for the treatment and so the search began for his next club.
It wasn’t that Messi boarded a flight in Rosario and landed in Barcelona, where the club officials were waiting with arms wide open to welcome the one, who will go on to become the greatest ever, in fact, it was far from it.
It was by coincidence that Horacio Gaggioli went to live in Barcelona, and there began the love story of Lionel Messi and Barcelona. Had he moved to another club, he might have turned out to be just as good, maybe better (if that was possible), or maybe worse. There’s no definitive way of knowing that.
Hell, as Gaggioli says, Messi could’ve had a trial at Real Madrid and may even have donned the famous white jersey of Los Blancos – a sight unimaginable for those who have witnessed him dazzle the world in the blue of Barcelona.