Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz claims the Spanish club nearly signed Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry only for both deals to fall through at the last minute.
Speaking on Portugese television show Idolos, Sanz says Messi’s agent at the time, Horacio Gaggioli, who is now the representative for Marco Asensio, was the person who first brought the Argentine to Spain and told the dimunitive forward he had his choice of Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the latter eventually securing his signature.
“The current representative of Asensio was the one who brought Messi to Spain,” Sanz told the program.
“The parents told him that he had to be brought [to Spain], but he still did not know whether to take him to Madrid or Barcelona. They told him to take him wherever, but in the end he went to Barcelona.”
Messi has gone on to score 26 times against Barca’s arch-rivals and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Sanz also claims Henry had signed a contract with Los Blancos before he joined Arsenal, but his parents were so afraid of the Monaco president at the time that they wouldn’t let him leave.
“Henry played at Monaco, we convinced him to sign with us and he signed the contract,” Sanz said.
“When we had him on the plane to come to Madrid, the father arrived and said he could not leave and that he was afraid of the president of Monaco. I said I would fix it, but in the end he insisted so much on his refusal that the operation came to an end.”
Henry would go on to sign for the Gunners shortly after and win two Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and become the club’s all-time record goal scorer with 228 before joining Barcelona and helping them win the Champions League alongside Messi in 2009.