What's the story?
Former Real Madrid and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has revealed that the Spanish federation desperately wanted Argentine superstar Lionel Messi to play for the Spanish national team.
In case you didn't know...
Messi scored his 600th goal for Barcelona last night, helping the Catalan giants register a comprehensive 3-0 win over Liverpool at Camp Nou. Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi has dominated world football over the last decade and is currently enjoying another spectacular season with Barcelona.
The 31-year-old has racked up 48 goals in all competitions in the current campaign and leads the race for the European Golden Shoe with 34 league goals. Messi is also the top scorer in the Champions League this campaign with 12 goals, and remains one of the highest assist providers in Europe.
Barcelona are eyeing another treble as they have already secured the LaLiga title and are now firm favourites to win the Copa Del Rey and Champions League.
Despite all his success with Barcelona though, Messi is yet to enjoy success with Argentina. He has lost three Copa America finals, and also the World Cup final in 2014.
Vicente Del Bosque needs no introduction. He won a couple of LaLiga titles and Champions League trophies as Real Madrid coach, but he really scaled unprecedented heights during his tenure as the coach of the Spanish national team. Under his tutelage, Spain won the World Cup in 2010 and the Euro in 2012.
The heart of the matter
Del Bosque has now revealed that Spain did everything in their power to convince Messi to play for them when he was a teenager.
Del Bosque said in the interview: "The Federation made every effort to get Messi to play for Spain. Lionel refused because he loves his country. His arrival would have been for the best."
"Messi is Messi - there is only one. It would have been a dream to coach him," he added.
Barcelona will not want to stumble at the business end of the season, and Messi would be crucial to their treble hopes once again. The Spanish giants will face Celta Vigo in LaLiga next before facing Liverpool at Anfield in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals.Published 02 May 2019, 15:44 IST