Lionel Messi’s former agent has previously revealed that the footballing icon was ‘tempted’ to join Arsenal back in 2003.
Barcelona announced on Thursday evening that the Argentine would be leaving the Nou Camp this month, ending a 21-year association with the club in which he notched a whopping 672 goals and 305 assists across 778 games, establishing himself as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
However, the 34-year-old could have had a completely different career trajectory, with the Gunners coming close to bringing him to north London back in 2003, according to Messi’s former agent, Fabian Soldini.
Soldini told Spanish outlet Marca: “[Messi] was tempted to go to Arsenal, but he didn’t go.
“I remember the day that Cesc (Fabregas) asked to leave.
“Messi was also asked to go, but he didn’t want to leave.”
The aforementioned Fabregas decided to join Arsene Wenger’s side but it could have been so different for the Frenchman, who saw his side defeated by Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final, less than three years after the Argentine rejected a chance to move to Highbury.
“We were in discussions with [Messi] when we bought Fabregas, because Messi played [with him],” he told beIN SPORTS.
“You can realise sometimes what fantastic youth teams you had before when you’re a club like Barcelona. In the same team, Messi, [Gerard] Pique and Fabregas.
“Pique and Fabregas came to England [with Manchester United and Arsenal respectively], Messi stayed in Spain. We were interested in him, but he was untouchable at the time.”
The Gunners’ faithful will be kicking themselves as they nearly had Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Messi all in the same team if the 34-year-old had have decided to join their star-studded side 18 years ago.
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