Messi could've played for Real Madrid instead of Barcelona - Gaggioli

Updated: 

If Horacio Gaggioli had not moved to Barcelona, Lionel Messi could have been playing for bitter rivals and LaLiga champions Real Madrid in 2017.

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 on to win five Ballon d'Or, eight LaLiga 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." 

Reflecting on his meeting with Messi in September of 2000, Gaggioli said: "When I saw him at the airport, I thought that boy could not be a footballer, because he was too small and skinny. 

"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."