When Rangers considered signing Lionel Messi because of Football Manager

Sankalp Srivastava
Alex Mcleish tried to sign a 13-year-old Leo Messi

Alex McLeish, ex-Rangers boss guided his team to two championships and five cup wins in five years. The manager must be quite proud of his record with the Scottish giants, but according to reports, the Scottish manager tried to sign a 13-year old Lionel Messi on loan, back in 2001, only to get rejected.

Surprisingly, he got this idea of going behind the young prodigy from his son, Jon McLeish, who is a ‘Football Manager’ fanatic. Football Manager is a series of football management simulation games developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega. The game began its life in 1992 as Championship Manager.

However, following the break-up of their partnership with original publishers Eidos Interactive, Sports Interactive lost the naming rights and re-branded the game Football Manager with their new publishers Sega. The latest Football Manager is set to be released on the November 13.

Jon, who is also a football consultant, revealed the details in a documentary named, An Alternative Reality: The Football Manager Documentary.

“I always used to play with Barcelona and this one kid stood out, I was drafting him into the first team already and he was scoring a couple of goals. I think he must have been 13 or 14. The first thing I did was tell my dad about it.”

The Scottish manager accepted the fact that he did not pay much heed to his son’s recommendation. He said: “He told me that this guy was going to be the best player in the world. I said ‘ok son’ and gave him a pat on the head. Yeah, the kid was called Lionel Messi.”

Lionel Messi debuts for Barcelona

Some reports also suggest that Barcelona refused to let Messi leave, but offered Andres Iniesta instead. Though, the move did not materialize and as we say, the rest is History. Well, had Messi been allowed to leave Barcelona on loan, we might have witnessed a completely parallel football universe altogether. Everyone would want Messi in their team, but frankly, it has been a privilege to watch him play for one of the biggest clubs on Earth.

Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also features in the documentary. He says his Old Trafford team-mate Jordi Cryuff was the one to introduce him to this game (Football Manager). Though, Solskjaer preferred to play using English teams whereas his Dutch counterpart preferred Spanish teams.

Edited by Staff Editor


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