Sergio Aguero recalls when he had to ask Lionel Messi what his name was when they played together for Argentina at the U20 World Cup.
Lionel Messi was just 17 years of age when he went to the U20 World Cup with Argentina. He was part of a squad that included Sergio Aguero.
At the time of the tournament, Messi was breaking into the Barcelona first team. But having been in Spain for several years already, he was a virtual unknown in his homeland.
Aguero had not left Argentina yet, and although he was a first-team regular with Independiente he was very unfamiliar with European football.
In an interview reported by Goal, the Manchester City striker recalls how he was not trying to be funny he genuinely had no clue who this kid was.
“He was on my right and I was talking about trainers with Ezequiel Garay and Lautaro Formica.”
“Leo at some point said something about the United States.”
“I watched a lot of football, but from Argentina, not Europe.”
“I asked Leo, ‘what was your name?’ ‘Lionel’, he replied and burst out laughing.”
“I said, what about your last name?”
“”Messi’, he answered. And the others asked me, don’t you know who he is?”
“I knew from the news there was a talented kid from Barcelona and I said, ‘this is him’.”
“Then I saw him train and realized just how good he was.”
Unfortunately, while both have gone on to do great things at club level they have failed miserably since that 2005 U20 World Cup Triumph.
Messi’s international career has been a disappointment to say the least.