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Getafe president claims they were close to signing Guardiola and Messi from Barcelona in the past

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

In an interview on COPE (h/t SPORT), Getafe president Angel Torres has claimed that the Madrilenian outfit were close to acquiring the services of Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi in the early stages of their managerial and playing careers, respectively.

Prior to taking over the Barcelona first-team management in 2008, Guardiola was in charge of the club’s B team.

And, Torres revealed that Barça initially had plans to appoint Michael Laudrup as Frank Rijkaard’s replacement, at which point he approached Guardiola to come to Getafe.

“It was when we were in Europe. I went to the draw and Txiki [Barça’s sporting director at the time] was there and he told me that they were thinking about Laudrup to be Barça’s coach next year,” the Getafe president said.

“And I said: ‘Well, I’ll take Guardiola’. And Txiki replied: ‘Well, talk to him and his brother’. And in the VIP lounge at the airport, the subject was discussed. But at the end of the season, everything was rushed and instead of Laudrup, Guardiola was appointed.

“But before this happened I spoke to Guardiola and he was willing to come. He can explain it to you,” he explained.

Getafe president Angel Torres. (Photo by DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

On the Messi case

Then Torres opened up on how Getafe were close to signing Messi, with Barcelona president Joan Laporta being open to the Argentine joining the Azulones.

“I was with Laporta and the sporting director, Zubizarreta, and the president called the coach, who had some problems because they had a player who I don’t know who was out and said that he would have minutes. But we have a very good relationship with Laporta and we were close,” he said.

This is not the first time that Torres has spoken about Getafe’s pursuit of Messi, with the La Liga club president previously claiming that the record Ballon d’Or winner was just 16 at the time, meaning it is likely to have happened in 2003.

Torres went on to add that he shared a special relationship with Messi, saying: “I have at least 10 Messi shirts. Every season he would send me a shirt because he knew he was my idol. I’ve always spoken well of him and he would send me a shirt when I went to Camp Nou.”

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