"Loved rugby," - Lionel Messi reveals he almost qualified to play for Wallabies - Ruck

“Loved rugby,” – Lionel Messi reveals he almost qualified to play for Wallabies

Australia are Lionel Messi and Argentina’s opponents in the World Cup, but when visiting the gold coast the football superstar revealed he almost moved to the country.

The diminutive playmaker is Argentina’s captain and record goalscorer, with 93 goals in 168 appearances.

When visiting the country, Messi also commented: “I loved rugby. I was scrum-half, but it was always football for me. History might have been different if I was born here,”

Guillem Balague, who wrote the book ‘Messi: The Definitive Biography’, the 35-year-old was almost a ‘Socceroo’. He liked rugby when he was young too.

“In Argentina there was a crisis. Money was losing value. there were no jobs. And Argentinians have long gone to Europe or elsewhere as emigrants,

“It must have been a casual conversation that [father] Jorge Messi had before Leo was born that he had with somebody that came across with the idea of going to Australia to live. Why not?

“When you get in that mind frame in which the solution to your problems is to be abroad, it doesn’t really matter where you go. And they knew people that had come to Australia.

“Finally, the decision was to stay put. Leo was born. When he’s 12, he eventually gets a trial to Barcelona.”

Lionel Messi facts:

  • Messi shares his birthplace with the Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevera.
  • One of Messi’s nicknames is “The Flea” due to his speed and agility
  • His father Jorge Messi was a steelworker, and he also coached the local youth football team.
  • At a tender age of 11, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which was stopping his normal growth rate
  • His 2005 international debut lasted 47 seconds when he received a red card after coming on as a substitute

5 players you didn’t know swapped nations, including Martin Johnson

The practice of professional rugby players changing their nationality (in most cases from their nation of birth) to play international football has been in action for many decades now.

This list includes eight interesting cases of players who have represented more than one country.

#1. Martin Johnson – England/New Zealand

As a player, he famously led England to glory at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and also captained the British & Irish Lions in 1997 and 2001 – the only player to have ever led the elite tourists on two occasions.

However, what you might not know is that All Blacks legend Colin Meads invited the raw but promising teenager to New Zealand to play for the King Country province in 1989 and Johnson, who took up the offer, would go on to be capped by New Zealand U21s.