Register Login Scores

World Cup 2018

Messi: Why I Turned Down Spain

In the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has revealed why he ultimately turned down the opportunity to represent Spain.

The Top 12 Assist Providers In Europe's Top Five Leagues

The 30-year-old, who has represented Argentina 123 times in his career so far, was eligible to play for La Furia Roja back when he was just 16 years of age, then playing in the La Masia academy. 

Messi has now revealed he was first approached to play for Spain when he was on tour in Finland with the Blaugrana, but already he had his heart set on playing for his country of birth. 

"If I played for Spain? A friend of mine told me that I'd now be a world champion if I'd played for Spain, but it wouldn't have been the same," Messi told Pasión por el Futbol. 

"Being a champion with Argentina would be something unique. I was 16 years old and, half in jest and half serious, the coach of the U17s put it to me.

"It happened in Finland, and Cesc (Fabregas) was my teammate at the time. That's where it all stems from, but at no time did the thought or any doubts cross my mind."

Messi also touched on the Albicelste's chances at this year's World Cup, and stated that that he was happy with the squad that was selected. 

"We have a tough draw. Iceland showed they could compete with anyone at the last Euros, Croatia have a great midfield, like Spain but a level below, and we always struggle against Nigeria," he added. 

"I have a lot of faith in this group, though. We're working well, we have players with ability and experience, but we have to go slowly. We don't want to send the message, 'We're going to win the World Cup because we're the best...' because the reality is we aren't.

"There are several favourites at the moment. Brazil is one. Spain, Germany, they're some of the best teams right now."  

UEFA Announce UCL Squad Of The Season, Snub African Superstar

Messi has scored 61 goals for his national team so far, with five of those having come in World Cups. 

Do you think Argentina have what it takes to lift the trophy in Russia? Have your say in the comments section below.

nextarticle

Scholes: I Hope Man Utd Can Land This Star

4 comments

Top 5

Official: Wits Announce Third January Signing

6 Jan 18, 2020 10:18 AM in PSL

UEFA Announce 2019 Team Of The Year, Salah Snubbed

8 Jan 15, 2020 02:46 PM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

The 10 Richest Clubs In The World Revealed

13 Jan 14, 2020 12:27 PM in World News

Comforting Message For Makaringe

159 Jan 17, 2020 08:00 AM in Orlando Pirates

Pitso Criticises Bucs Star For Showboating

253 Jan 15, 2020 10:16 PM in Mamelodi Sundowns

Professor Slams Pitso!

232 Jan 16, 2020 02:31 PM in PSL

The 10 Highest-Attended Football Matches In 2019

14 Jan 17, 2020 08:00 PM in World News

UEFA Announce 2019 Team Of The Year, Salah Snubbed

8 Jan 15, 2020 02:46 PM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

Amakhosi’s New Man Gets To Work – Squad Number Revealed?

35 Jan 16, 2020 10:53 AM in Kaizer Chiefs

Castro Joins Chiefs' List Of 2020 Negotiations

25 Jan 17, 2020 07:06 AM in Kaizer Chiefs

The 10 Richest Footballers In The World

28 Nov 24, 2019 07:17 PM in World News

Key Sundowns Man Makes His Return

27 Jan 17, 2020 09:20 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns

9 Players Who Left Barca Because Of Messi

29 Nov 03, 2019 10:21 AM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

What Fadlu Told Pitso In Showboating Saga

45 Jan 16, 2020 03:52 PM in Orlando Pirates