Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the best players to have ever graced the football pitch.
The Barcelona star was given a chance by the Catalan giants as a youngster, and after making his first-team debut aged 17 back in 2004, the Argentine hasn’t looked back.
15 years after appearing at the Nou Camp for the first time, the dynamic forward has racked up an astonishing 603 goals and 242 assists in his 687 club appearances.
However, things could have seemingly been different for Messi, according to former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
The 69-year-old has sensationally claimed that the Gunners were interested in the forward when they brought Cesc Fabregas to London back in 2003.
When asked by beIN SPORTS
, cited by Remsport
, on whether he ever tried to sign Messi, Wenger said:
We were in discussions with him when we bought Fabregas, because Messi played [with him].
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.
However, these Arsenal fans weren’t having the Frenchman’s claims and hit out at the former Gunners boss on social media.
Twitter: @AFTVMedia Wenger ‘almost’ signed everyone (@JakeRowe1)
Twitter: @AFTVMedia Just like the other 20000 players we could of signed but was too cheap to pay an extra penny (@JonSnow03490556)
Twitter: @AFTVMedia I swear he thinks that if a player says hello to him, he thinks he’s nearly signed him. (@snowbiggee)
Twitter: @AFTVMedia Complete nonsense (@tadgooner)
Twitter: @AFTVMedia https://t.co/ndmNxsempr (@zaidv_96)
READ ARSENAL VERDICT
The Gunners may well have been interested in Messi’s services as a 16-year-old, but it was easy to see back then that the Spanish giants had no interest in parting ways with the forward.
Barcelona were so keen on Messi when he was a teenager that they brought him over from Argentina aged 13 and paid for his growth hormone medical treatment, and what a decision that has proved to be.
Wenger’s claims certainly make for excellent viewing, but it appears as if plenty of Arsenal fans aren’t having it.
DO YOU BELIEVE WENGER’S CLAIMS?