Argentine star Lionel Messi have stayed at Barcelona all through his football club career in European football. after so many years at the Blaugrana, the truth behind his first contract at the club unfolds.
On a small rectangular piece of paper to clean the mouth and hands was written one of the most important documents in the history of sport. Messi’s ‘contract’ was signed with Barcelona 18 years ago on a napkin, but where is it now? And who owns it?
In September of 2000 Lionel Messi, at only 13 years of age, arrived with his family in Barcelona thanks to the Argentine representatives Fabian Soldini and Martin Montero, and his contact in Spain, Horacio Gaggioli. The youngster dazzled everyone with the ball, and the Messi family returned to Rosario with the promise of a contract offer.
Joan Gaspart, president of Barcelona at the time, thought it would be risky to go through with any deal but Gaggioli threatened the Catalans by suggesting that he would offer Messi to other clubs, among them at Real Madrid.
On December 14, some three months after the initial contact with Barcelona, Gaggioli played tennis at the Pompeia del Montjuic club with the ex-football player and Technical Secretary of Barcelona, Carles Rexach.
After the game they stayed for lunch in the club’s cafeteria, where Josep Maria Minguella, a player agent who had brought many players to Barcelona, joined them. Gaggioli and Minguella pressed Rexach to make a decision about Messi, a young player who promised so much.
It was then that Rexach took a paper napkin and wrote:
‘In Barcelona, on December 14, 2000 and in the presence of Messrs. Minguella and Horacio, Carlos Rexach, Technical Secretary of F.C.B. is committed under his responsibility and despite some opinions against signing the player Lionel Messi as long as we maintain the agreed amounts.’
The napkin was signed by Rexach, Minguella and Gaggioli. A week later, Gaggioli and Rexach themselves gave official validity to that document before a notary and Messi’s story finally began with the Blaugrana.
But what happened to that famous napkin?
As Infobae has reported, it’s in the hands of Gaggioli, who today lives in Andorra and has it stored in a safe of the Credit Andorra bank. Gaggioli is still dedicated to the representation of players, and he presently advises Marco Asensio among other players.
The agent has received numerous millionaire offers from around the world for the document where the signing of Messi was forged.
“I think the napkin should be in the Barcelona museum,” he’s reported as saying. “That piece of paper changed the modern history of the club.”
He still isn’t planning on selling it, only loaning it to the FCB museum.
“I think it should be there, in a preferential place next to Messi’s Ballon d’Or’s,” he continued.
Years ago the museum contacted Gaggioli, but the conversations were frozen when the club told him that it was a “confidential contract” and that they preferred not to expose it to the public “until Messi retires or leaves the club.”
Today, he is the captain of the team and has achieved every title with Barcelona on a collective and individual level. It’ll be a few years yet before the safe in Andorra can be prised open…
Do still see Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona in the future or he will end his football career in Barcelona?