Just imagine if they’d pulled this off.
The Spain side of the last seven or eight years has been laced with talent, playing some of the most scintillating and exhilarating football the modern game has ever seen, on route to winning Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
The magic ran out during last year’s World Cup, however, but things could’ve been very different had La Roja managed to pull off the coup of the century by attracting Leo Messi.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner is, of course, regarded by many as the greatest player of all-time but things could’ve been very different for Messi if you believe Del Bosque.
The Argentine moved to Catalonia to join Barcelona aged 13 and has gone on to win an array of accolades during a trophy-laden career.
But in an interview with Sid Lowe in The Guardian, Del Bosque admits there was a genuine attempt by the Spanish FA to change the course of football history by tempting him to turn his back on the country of his birth.
Smiling, he said:
“There was an attempt to do so [nationalise Messi] but he decided to stick with the country of his birth; he remained steadfast.
“That’s a phenomenon that we cannot turn our back on or pretend doesn’t exist. We don’t know where the next Messi or the next Ronaldo is going to come from: it could be one of those who arrives here from another country looking to make a better life.”