Lionel Messi playing for any other football club, apart from Barcelona, is quite unimaginable to the eyes. Since making his debut for the Catalan club in 2004, Messi has become the central figure around the club and is synonymous to it. But according to Getafe president Angel Torres, Messi was close to joining them on a loan and had that transpired, things could have been so different for the club. Torres also claimed that he had a verbal agreement with a past Barcelona to appoint Pep Guardiola as a manager at the club. Both Messi and Guardiola went on to form a sensational partnership at Barcelona and both enjoy legendary status at the club while Getafe are left to reel what could have been. Lionel Messi Plays UNO with Kids & Wife Antonella Roccuzzo Amid Isolation in Spain (Watch Video).
According to a report from Spanish outlet Marca, Getafe chief Torres enjoyed a close relationship with former Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who was the president when Messi broke into the Barcelona first-team and also when Guardiola was promoted from the Barca B team as the manager of the first-team. This Day That Year: When Team Barcelona Waved Goodbye to Andres Iniesta, Catalan Giants Share Emotional Video.
It was 2004 and Messi, then of 17, had just broken into the senior team. Torres hoped that Laporta would send the Argentine to his club for some valuable senior experience and had even reached close to agreeing to a loan deal with Barcelona. But then Barca manager Frank Rijkaard refused to send the young Argentine forward on loan.
"In Messi's first or second year [in the first team], we came really close to bringing him to Getafe on loan," Torres told the Spanish newspaper. "In the end, [then manager Frank] Rijkaard didn't agree to it and we were left with just our desire.”
This was just the first tip of a bigger disappointment for Torres. In 2008, with Rijkaard’s spell at Barcelona drawing to an end, Getafe manager Michael Laudrup was expected to replace the Dutchman at the Catalan club. In response, Torres had aimed to bring Pep Guardiola to Getafe as the boss of the senior team.
Laudrup, who led Getafe to a Copa Del Rey title and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in his first season, was in high demand and it was speculated that Barcelona were the front-runners for his signature. But it turned otherwise the club decided to promote Guardiola instead and the rest, as they say, is history.
"One day, [Barcelona sporting director] Txiki [Begiristain] was at a European draw in Switzerland and the idea was that Laudrup would go to Barcelona and we would get Guardiola as a replacement because, to start with, Laporta wasn't convinced by Pep at all,” Torres said. But that decision changed big time and once again Getafe were left to wonder.
Guardiola went on to win a record 14 titles at Barcelona with Messi his main man. His honours included a treble in 2008, three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.