Argentine top-flight team, River Plate missed out on the biggest deal of their lives, Lionel Messi. Not every day, do you get the chance to sign the prospective greatest player of all time but River got the opportunity and missed it. Even though they got a fair warning that the player on their hand was a raw talent, the Primera club decided that signing him on a permanent deal was too expensive and did not make the deal.
Why did River Plate decide not to sign Lionel Messi?
In 2000, a 13-year Lionel Messi was at the grounds of one of Argentina's biggest clubs, River Plate for a trial. The young player was without airs but little did River Plate know what kind of amazing footballer he would become. The young Lionel Messi showed them a glimpse though, scoring 12 goals in one of his training sessions with the club during his week-long trials.
A young Lionel Messi
According to the then youth coach, Eduardo Abrahamian, he had recommended to the club's director general to sign the player but the club was reluctant to spend so much money to take Messi away from his then club, Newell's Old Boys. Abrahamian revealed that he told the board that this player was special and just like Boca Juniors did with Diego Maradona, River Plate should take a gamble and invest in the player. The River Plate hierarchy did not and thus, Lionel Messi left the Buenos Aires complex of River Plate after one week.
What did Lionel Messi do after being rejected at River Plate?
Though, there are conflicting reports on what transpired with the River Plate trial as some people report that Newell's Old Boys were the ones that made the deal not go through as they didn't want Lionel Messi to move another Argentine side. Thus, after that Lionel Messi's father, Jorge Messi, entered talks with FC Barcelona in Spain.
Barcelona took a chance on Lionel Messi and he became a star
The La Liga side were were eager to do business to sign Lionel Messi and they also offered to finance his growth-enhancing procedures as the player was underdeveloped for his age. Thus, Lionel Messi moved to Barcelona and the rest they say is history. The Argentine playmaker won 6 Ballon d'Or titles, 35 club trophies, and became the record goalscorer of the club as well as Barcelona's greatest-ever player.