What Barcelona officials wrote on the napkin that turned into Lionel Messi's first contract

Leo Messi

Whether you're a fan, a pundit, or anyone else, it's very hard to find new ways to describe the footballing genius of Lionel Messi.

The little magician has spent his entire senior career at Barcelona, where he's scored a whopping 566 goals in 650 games and won five Ballon d'Or awards.

From a team perspective, Messi has helped Barca win over 30 major trophies, including nine La Liga titles and four Champions League triumphs.

His story with the Catalan giants began back in 2000, at the tender age of 13, where he arrived with his family from Rosario and dazzled everyone with his ability.

A few Barcelona officials collectively came to a decision over Messi whilst at lunch, and what was written on a napkin (which acted as a contract) has now emerged.

How Leo Messi joined Barcelona

Messi impressed in both the Barca C and B teams before making his first-team debut in 2004, but it things could have been a lot different.

Messi celebrates at the Nou Camp

In December 2000, three months after Messi had wowed Barcelona coaches with his talent, four men discussed whether or not the club would make him an offer.

Those men were then-club president Joan Gaspart, technical secretary Carles Rexach, agent Josep Maria Minguella and Horacio Gaggioli; Messi's contact in Spain.

What was written on Messi's 'napkin' contract?

Following initial contact, Gaspart felt it would be a risk to go through with any deal for Messi, and Gaggioli even threatened to offer the icon to other clubs.

Messi with the Champions League trophy after the 2014 Final

However, the other three recognised his unbelievable quality in the end, going against Gaspart's opinion, and after a game of tennis, they had lunch at the club's cafeteria.

It was there that they agreed to bring Messi to the Nou Camp, with Rexach using a paper napkin to produce what turned into a valid document signed by all three men.

He wrote, per Sport: "In Barcelona, on December 14, 2000 and in the presence of Messrs. Minguella and Horacio, Carlos Rexach (Technical Secretary of Futbol Club Barcelona) is committed under his responsibility and, despite some opinions against signing the player Lionel Messi, as long as we maintain the agreed amounts."


As the 'contract' itself stated, some people weren't all for the signing of the now-31-year-old, who has already solidified himself as one of, if not the greatest player the game's ever seen.

Recent reports from Spain have suggested that the majority of those involved in this amazing story want the famous napkin to be put in the Barcelona museum.

So, what most people use to clean their hands and mouths after eating once acted as one of the most important documents in the history of sport.

What do YOU make of the incredible story behind Messi joining Barca? Do YOU think he would've succeeded had he not joined the club 18 years ago? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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