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Lionel Messi could have been eligible to represent two nations at Euro 2024

Lionel Messi could have been eligible to represent two nations at Euro 2024

Messi could have been playing at Euro 2024 in an alternate universe.

There are two nations playing at Euro 2024 that Lionel Messi could have been eligible to represent during his football career.

Messi is, of course, currently representing Argentina at the 2024 Copa America, with the South American nation looking to defend the title they won in 2021.

Argentina won their opening game of this year's tournament, which is being held in the United States for the first time as part of an agreement with CONCACAF, by a score of 2-0 over Canada.

The Copa America is being played alongside Euro 2024 - and in an alternate, Messi could have been playing in that tournament instead this summer.

That is because a young Messi was the subject of an informal approach to play for Spain, back in his early days at Barcelona.

Despite spending five years in Spain before his senior Argentina debut, Messi did not qualify to play for the national team as a person must live in the country for 10 years before they apply to have Spanish nationality.

But he did qualify through a Catalan great grandfather, who was born in Balaguer.

Despite informal talks with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Messi wanted to play for Argentina instead.

Meanwhile, the football legend was also eligible to play for Italy, as per Goal, due to his family's ancestry.

Argentina's Lionel Messi pictured during the 2024 Copa America (

It is added that the forward would have qualified for an Italian passport through his great grandfather, who left Italy to move to Rosario - where Messi would later be born - in 1883.

However, there is no official indication that the Italian Football Federation ever contacted Messi over switching his international allegiance. But had he done so, the 36-year-old could have played in the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2020 finals, winning both.

Things didn't turn out too badly for Messi in the end, with the small matter of a World Cup and Copa America title on his CV with Argentina.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Lionel Messi, Argentina, Football, Euro 2024, Copa America