Two teams that Messi could have represented in the European Cup, so why didn't he play for them? Two teams that Messi could have represented in the European Cup, so why didn't he play for them?

Two teams that Messi could have represented in the European Cup, so why didn't he play for them?

Two teams that Messi could have represented in the European Cup, so why didn't he play for them?

It is difficult to imagine Lionel Messi appearing on the international scene in the shirt of a team other than Argentina, as the former Barcelona star is only linked to “Albiceleste”.

For much of his career, it seemed as though Messi might never win a major international trophy with Argentina, and he was often labelled a failure on the international stage, especially after Argentina lost three Copa America finals in 2007, 2015 and 2016, as well as the 2014 World Cup final.

The third defeat in the 2016 Copa America final prompted Messi to announce his international retirement, but it was a short-lived retirement. The "flea" returned a few months later to resume his quest for a major title with the "Tango Dancers".

Messi after returning from retirement

Messi's career did not change much at the international level immediately after returning from retirement. Argentina exited the 2018 World Cup in the round of 16 against the French team, and months later the "Tango Dancers" left the Copa America in the semi-finals against Brazil in 2019.

But Messi finally achieved his goal in 2021 when he won his first international title by leading Argentina to the Copa America title before leading them a year later to glory in Qatar where the “Tango Dancers” lifted the World Cup by beating France in the final on penalties.

Playing for Spain instead of Argentina

Had Messi announced earlier in his career his willingness to represent another national team other than Argentina, he might have achieved international success much earlier than he did with La Albiceleste.

The Argentine could have represented Spain and won the European Nations Cup and a World Cup between 2008 and 2012, and who knows, perhaps he would have added more championships to them later, with all the major stars Spain possessed in that era.

Messi moved to Spain when he was only 13 years old, and was able to speed up the process of obtaining a Spanish passport due to the amount of time he spent there.

Coach Vicente del Bosque, who led Spain to win the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Cup, confirmed that the Spanish Football Federation tried to convince Messi to play for “La Roja” before Leo was chosen over his country’s national team.

Del Bosque said in a previous statement to a Spanish radio station: “The Spanish Federation did its best to convince Messi to play for Spain... Lionel refused because he loves his country. His arrival would have benefited us. Messi is Messi, there is only one. Training him was a dream.”

Messi is Argentine to the core

Messi confirmed in a book about his career with Argentina, entitled "Messi, the Patriot", that he was never inclined to play for Spain. "The Flea", who made his first appearance for the Argentine national team in 2004, said: "They asked me informally if I wanted to play for Spain, but I always said that I wanted to play for my country, because I love Argentina and those are the only colors I like to wear at international level."

In the same context, former Spanish international Cesc Fabregas, Messi's former teammate at Barcelona and close friend, said that it seemed like the right decision for the Argentine was to play for his country of origin, even if he thought he would have enjoyed playing for Spain alongside "La Pulga".

Fabregas said: “It would have been exceptional if Leo had played for the Spanish national team,” adding: “We would have won more titles, but he always felt very Argentine, and I think it was the perfect decision to play for his country’s national team.”

Representing Italy

Messi was also eligible to play for Italy, as his great-grandfather was from there, which would have qualified Leo for an Italian passport, as Messi's great-grandfather left Italy to move to Argentina in the late 19th century, so it's not fair to say that there was no There is no real possibility of Messi joining the Azzurri.

Unlike Spain, there were no talks between the Italian Football Federation and Messi about him representing Italy.

1 Comments

  1. His deep national pride ultimately shaped his illustrious international career.

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