Argentina Was able to choose Spain or Argentina
It was June 29, 2004, when Lionel Messi debuted with Argentina‘s under-20 team, yet there was once a day when the forward could have actually represented Spain.
Ahead of the 2003 Under-17 World Cup held in Finland, the Spanish Football Federation had attempted to convince the Barcelona starlet to be a part of their travelling squad.
Whilst Spain would reach the final with Cesc Fabregas leading the team, Messi and his father were always completely clear: they wanted to represent Argentina, the country of his birth.
This remained the case, even though Hugo Tocalli, the coach of the Argentina under-17s, didn’t consider him for his own squad for the trip to Finland.
Spain continued to try and tempt Messi, yet Jorge Messi, his father, took advantage of Marcelo Bielsa‘s visit to Catalonia to try and convince him Messi was ready for the Argentine national team.
Claudio Vivas would take note of this meeting and ask for videos of the teenage footballer, upon seeing them it was apparent that the Barcelona prodigy would be good enough for the national team.
Despite having just turned 17, Messi would then be given his international debut, wearing the number 17 shirt.