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The Two Other Countries That Lionel Messi Could Have Played For Instead Of Argentina

The Two Other Countries That Lionel Messi Could Have Played For Instead Of Argentina

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi could have used his world-class skills in service of Italy or Spain instead of Argentina.

The 33-year-old Argentine superstar has led his country to the 2014 World Cup final and the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals.

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But Messi has come under fierce criticism for his lack of major silverware, despite winning the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball and 2015 Copa America Golden Ball.

According to Goal, the Argentina captain could have been eligible to play for Italy due to his family's ancestry.

Both of Messi's parents had Italian lineage, meaning that the six-time Ballon d'Or winner would have been eligible for an Italian passport thanks to his great grandfather.

However, Goal does report that there were no on-record attempts from the Italian Football Federation to tempt Messi into playing for Italy.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

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Meanwhile, Messi could have played for Spain due to a Catalan great grandfather who was born in Balaguer.

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And former Barcelona sporting director Carles Rexach wanted the Royal Spanish Football Federation to secure the services of the Argentine forward.

Messi has admitted that he was "informally" approached over the possibility of playing for Spain, but he insisted that he wanted to play for Argentina.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"When I was a kid I expected to get a call from the AFA [Argentinian Football Association]," he said in the book Messi, The Patriot.

"I was asked informally if I wanted to play for Spain, but I always said that I wanted to play for my national team because I love Argentina and these are the only colours I want to wear.

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"I was always an avid fan of the national team. I watched the games on television because I could never go to the grounds and watch them as a fan."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Football, Barcelona, Lionel Messi, Argentina, Spain, La Liga, Barca, Italy

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Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]