What would have happened if a 12-year old Messi had stayed back in Argentina

Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year old
Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year old
Sharan Pillai

Lionel Messi is currently one of FC Barcelona's best, if not the best, ever footballer of all time and has to be included on even a list for the GOAT of football.

But when he was just 12 years old, Argentine powerhouse River Plate turned down the chance to sign him, with many reports claiming it was because River Plate did not want to pay the medical fees that young Lionel required in order to grow.

Another reason is that River Plate only housed 13-year-olds or older, which was another reason why he was turned down. Despite this, he was rejected again even when he turned 13, which eventually led to the Messi family going to Barcelona and Leo Messi famously signing a contract with Barcelona on a napkin in the club cafeteria.

After this, Messi led FC Barcelona to 4 Champions Leagues, 9 LaLigas, and 6 Copa Del Reys, along with 5 Ballon d'Ors.

This article discusses what would have happened if the Argentine spent his entire career in his homeland.

Note: All views expressed are nothing more than the author's opinion.

Pep Guardiola may not have been as big a success

Guardiola might not have been as big as he is today
Guardiola might not have been as big as he is today

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team from 2008 to 2012 which ruled Europe was spearheaded by Lionel Messi and the spectacular midfield which supplied him with chances to score.

But if Messi was out of the picture, Barca would not have a creative striker anymore, as Guardiola had already sold Ronaldinho to AC Milan. This may have drastically reduced Barca's scoring record, which in turn could reduce their title intake.

In fact, Messi's best personal seasons usually coincided with Barcelona's best seasons as a club.

River Plate would have been an absolute powerhouse

River Plate would have ruled South America
River Plate would have ruled South America

River Plate is known for their rabid fans, especially during their matches against Boca Juniors, known as Superclásico.

Imagine just how hyped these fans would be if their team was continuously winning league titles and Copa Libertadores. Add in Messi along with River Plate's current superstars such as Gonzalo Martinez and Exequiel Palacios, and you have a team which could compete easily with some of Europe's best teams.

This would be a team which would be a nightmare for any defence in the world.

The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry would be far less

This rivalry might not have existed!
This rivalry might not have existed!

Had River Plate signed up young Leo, the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry which currently dominates world football would have been diminished.

For one thing, the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry kicked off after Ronaldo's then world-record move from Manchester United to Real Madrid. If Messi and Ronaldo are not even on the same continent, let alone league, then comparisons between the 2 would be more limited, because the 2 players are not facing the same amount of competition.

Also, no player outside Europe has won the Ballon d'Or, which is another thing which many people use to compare Messi and Ronaldo. With both of these major criteria on which the 2 compared mainly removed, the rivalry that the 2 have nowadays will have reduced.

Edited by Debjyoti Samanta
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