'Messi will return to Newell's Old Boys'

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's first agent insists that he will eventually call time on his trophy-laden spell at Barcelona and link up with the club that signed him in 1994

GOALEXCLUSIVE
Lionel Messi will return to Newell's Old Boys before the end of his career, his very first agent has insisted.

The Barcelona superstar departed Argentina in 2001 to sign for the Catalan club, having successfully undergone a trial, with Barca agreeing to pay for growth hormone treatment for the diminutive playmaker.

Messi has since become a five-time Ballon d'Or winner and won eight La Liga championships, along with four Champions League titles, while he also captained Argentina to the final of the 2014 World Cup, where they were beaten by Germany.

However, Messi's first agent, Horacio Gaggioli has told Goal in an exclusive interview that the brilliant 28-year-old will eventually return to Newell's, the club he has supported all his life.

"I'm absolutely convinced this will happen," he said when asked of the prospect of Messi's homecoming. "He will be back to play for Newell's Old Boys, from Rosario."

Gaggioli still owns the famous napkin signed by Barca sporting director Charly Rexach, which represented the first contract between Messi and Barcelona, and says that he is responsible for Messi eventually joining the Catalan club.

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Had the agent moved to Madrid to take a job he was offered he admits he would have attempted to sell Messi to either Real or Atletico.

"His family wanted him to come to a big club in Europe and he would go wherever I'd be living," he added. I was about to live in Madrid to work there. If that happened we would have tried to get him at Real or Atletico Madrid," he added.

"But in the end the Madrid job didn't happen for me and I ended up in Barcelona. For that reason, I used to say that Messi is a Barcelona player due to my circumstances. The circumstances and the famous napkin signed by Rexach, agreeing to hire him, changed the history of Barcelona."

Gaggioli also bats away any suggestion that he could sell the holy serviette that sealed Messi's move, due to its historical significance.

"I won't sell it for anything. I'm very fond of this napkin, because it shows my participation in this huge project between Barcelona and Messi."

And when asked if it would soon be an exhibit at Barca's museum, he says: "Nothing is decided for now. They will have to wait a little longer."