Is Messi from Argentina ? Why Lionel Messi could’ve played for Spain or Italy over Argentina

Is messi from argentina ? Lionel Messi has had so much written about him over the years that you wonder if there is anything left to uncover, or some little details that may have been overlooked. Perhaps there are the odd few facts that are not known to the masses.

Over the next six slides, B/R attempt to uncover something that you might not have previously known, either personally or professionally, about the world’s greatest footballer.

His Favorite Food Is Milanesa Napolitana

There would appear to be one particular food that Lionel Messi has enjoyed throughout his life: Milanesa Napolitana.

A favourite in Argentina, the dish is made with a variety of ingredients such as ham, salt, oregano, fried beef, chopped tomatoes, onions, cheese and sugar.

In Luca Caoili’s book “Messi,” Lionel’s mother Celia describes how she cooks her son’s favourite dish and notes:

Could Have Played for Spain

Lionel Messi is heading for Brazil this summer looking to spearhead Argentina’s charge to glory in the backyard of their fiercest rivals.

Popular opinion would suggest that if the albiceleste are able to emerge victorious in the tournament that Messi will cement his place in history as the best footballer to have ever played the game.

However, things could’ve been much different.

In Spain since the age of 13, Messi has dual nationality and qualified to play for Spain. Per Biography Online, he was asked to play for the Spanish U20 side in 2004 but turned down the opportunity and instead turned out a year later and led Argentina to victory in the FIFA Youth Championship.

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is messi from argentina

His Real Name Is Luis

Known all around the world simply as Lionel Messi, the player was actually born into this world on June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina as Luis Lionel Andres Messi, per

It’s unclear why the player, or indeed his parents, chose for him to be known as Lionel, so various accounts—including Sam Kelly’s at ESPN—that he was named after American crooner Lionel Richie are therefore incorrect.

His Heritage Is Italian

Born and raised in Argentina. Now holds dual nationality as a naturalised Spaniard. But Lionel Messi’s family heritage actually belongs in Italy.

Recanati is a town in the Province of Macerata in the east of the country and it is here where the paternal ancestors of Barcelona’s No. 1 son have their origins, according to the town’s Wikipedia page.

Rajath Kumar of Forza Italian Football actually suggests it is Ancona where the Messi family were based, with ancestor Angelo Messi emigrating to Argentina in 1883.

Imagine that. Messi and Andrea Pirlo side by side. Football heaven.

He Is Related to Bojan Krkic

Believe it or not, Lionel Messi and ex-Barcelona star Bojan Krkic are distant cousins.

Per Stefan Coerts of, an investigation by Diari Segre turned up the astonishing information that Ramon Perez Llobera, Messi’s great-grandfather born in 1859, was the brother of Goncal, who was born nine years afterwards and who is Bojan’s great-grandfather.

Why Lionel Messi could’ve played for Spain or Italy over Argentina

The Argentina star will be going up against Spain on Tuesday but he could have been lining up on the other side had he chosen to

Lionel Messi will line up against the Spanish national team on Tuesday evening as Argentina prepare for this year’s World Cup in Russia.

The 2014 finalists play their second fixture of 2018 against a Spain side who drew to Germany on Friday evening, having beaten Italy 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium last time out.

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Messi was named in the squad to travel to Manchester but played no part in the fixture, though is hopeful of a spot in the starting XI on Tuesday.

Could Messi have played for Spain? 

With Italy out of the picture early on, it was a straight shootout between Messi’s country of birth, Argentina, and country of residence who he qualified for due to a Catalan great grandfather who was born in Balaguer, Spain, for his services.

Following Messi’s move to Barcelona, the club’s director of football, Carles Rexach, pushed for the Royal Spanish Football Federation to secure the future of the player.

It was Messi’s wish to represent Argentina, however, that caused the Argentine Football Association to make it official by arranging two under-20 friendlies in 2004, against Paraguay and Uruguay.

After three goals in those two games and 11 in his next 16 for the Under-20 team, Messi was promoted to the U23s and eventually the senior side.

“When I was a kid I expected to get a call from the AFA [Argentinian Football Association],” Messi said in his book, Messi, The Patriot. “I was asked informally if I wanted to play for Spain, but I always said that I wanted to play for my national team because I love Argentina and these are the only colours I want to wear.

“I was always an avid fan of the national team. I watched the games on television because I could never go to the grounds and watch them as a fan.”

Former Barca team-mate Cesc Fabregas has since backed Messi’s decision to pick Argentina over Spain, though believes La Roja have missed out as a result.

“It would have been phenomenal if Leo had played for Spain,” The Chelsea midfielder said. “We would have won more titles, but he always felt very Argentine and I think it was the perfect decision to play for his country.”

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Could Messi have played for Italy?

Born Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini, the future Barcelona star’s parents both had Italian ancestry.

Messi would indeed have qualified for an Italian passport through his great grandfather, who moved from Recanati to Messi’s place of birth, Rosario, in 1883.

There is nothing on record to suggest that the Italian Football Federation attempted to persuade a young Messi to commit to the Italian set-up, however, and with both Argentina and Spain pushing for his services, it was never on the cards for him to don the royal blue of Italy.

is messi from argentina

Other Italian Argentine footballers

Mauro Camoranesi, capped 55 times by Italy, was born in Tandil, Argentina.

Raimundo Orsi, winner of five Serie A titles between 1930-1935, was also eligable to represent both countries, and made appearances for both. Orsi played for Argentina between 1924-1928 before switching allegiances for six years, winning the World Cup for the Azzurri, and even returning for Argentina duty for a game in 1936.

Dani Osvaldo, formerly of Roma, Juventus and Inter, also had a 14-appearance stint with the Italian senior side but was born in Lanus, Argentina.

Omar Sivori, Humberto Maschio and Antonio Angelillo, nicknamed the Angels with Dirty Faces, all played for both Argentina and Italy, as did Luis Monti, also formerly of Juventus.

Current Juve star Paulo Dybala is also eligible to play for both Italy and Argentina, as well as Poland, but chose to commit to the Albiceleste.

“I feel 100 per cent Argentinian, though I look foreign with these pale eyes,” Dybala previously told La Repubblica. “When I had to choose, I had no doubts. I didn’t make any calculations. I know that I’d have less competition for Italy or Poland, but I want to play for Argentina and I never asked questions or thought about switching sides.

“I wouldn’t be happy in a national team that didn’t feel like mine, to hear an anthem that isn’t my own, in colours that don’t belong to me. My friend Franco Vazquez has an Italian mother. I only have an Italian passport thanks to a great-grandmother who I know nothing about. He feels Italian, I don’t.”

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