As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Ex-Argentina coach Peckerman: We had to 'steal' Barcelona star Messi from Spain

Former Argentina coach Jose Peckerman admits there was a danger of Barcelona star Lionel Messi committing to Spain.

Peckerman worked with Messi at youth and senior level.

He told Marca: "We practically stole him from Spain. What we had seen of some videos, both Claudio Vivas who spoke with Hugo Toncalli, and we already had some reports of a little boy from Rosario ... At that time I had left the national team, in 2002, and I went to Spain to work for Leganés.

"There we saw him play for Barça youth teams. There was a FIFA regulation that has already changed, which said that a player who was a member of the youth teams could not play for the senior team from another country.

"We made the strategy involving South Americans to play, because the European powers was also coming and in Spain he did not go unnoticed and he was going to play with the Spanish team.

"In my first steps with Barça to comply with the FIFA regulations, a friendly match had to be held with a form signed by the players, to make it clear to FIFA that he had already played with us. I was with Laporta, I introduced myself and I told him about the authorisation for Messi to play in that match.

"That famous match with Paraguay took place on the Argentinos Juniors pitch. Messi dazzled because he enters the second half with 1-0 and they end up winning 8-0."

Carlos Volcano
About the author

Carlos Volcano

Have your say
×

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free
×

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free