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Lionel Messi's first contract at Barcelona in 2000 was written on a napkin

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Lionel Messi's numbers since signing his first professional contract with Barcelona 17 years ago on February 15, 2002, are quite staggering.

In 666 games, the 31-year-old has scored 581 goals, assisted a further 226 and won 30 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copa del Reys.

He's unequivocally Barcelona's best ever player and according to the club's president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, they want him to stay "forever".

Barca have tabled a new five-year contract for Messi, whose current deal has two-and-a-half years remaining.

"Leo Messi will continue with us," said Bartomeu, per Marca. "He is a club player and the relationship will continue forever.

"He has told us that he wants to continue. We have offered him a new contract over five years and I hope we will continue discussing the deal."

Messi has proved himself as one of football's greatest ever players at Barcelona and his journey to the top began all the way back in 2000.

In September that year, a 13-year-old Messi arrived in Spain with his family for a trial with Barcelona and he dazzled. Carlos Rexach, the club's first team director at the time, wanted him immediately.

But other board members had their doubts, so Messi's contact in Spain, Horacio Gaggioli, threatened to take him to Real Madrid instead.

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Three months later, on December 14, Gaggioli met with Rexach and player agent Josep Maria Minguella at Pompeia del Montjuic tennis club to discuss a deal for Messi.

An agreement was made and Rexach, who didn't want to waste any time in securing Messi's services at Barcelona, wrote down a contract on a napkin for everyone to sign. It read:

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

The napkin was made an official document one week later and to this day it's in the hands of Gaggioli, who has stored it in a bank safe in Andorra.

Gaggioli, however, thinks it belongs in Barcelona's museum at the Camp Nou: "I think the napkin should be in the Barcelona museum.

"That piece of paper changed the modern history of the club."

Topics:
Football
La Liga
Barcelona
Lionel Messi

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