Lionel Messi recently won the 44th title of his career when he guided Inter Miami to the Leagues Cup win. With multiple league titles, Champions League titles, Copa America, and the World Cup under his belt, Messi’s trophy collection remains unparalleled. However, there’s one trophy that Lionel Messi won with Argentina that has received perhaps less attention than it deserves.
Lionel Messi won the prestigious Olympic gold medal with Argentina back in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Messi and Argentina celebrated 15 years of their Olympic gold medal victory just a few days ago. Argentina star Angel Di Maria shared a picture of himself with the Argentine skipper commemorating the victory. Di Maria also added a message with the picture that read, “Everything remains the same.“
“Everything remains the same” ❤️🏆 pic.twitter.com/HiYiCoPXxt
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) August 23, 2023
Aged just 21, Lionel Messi put up an incredible show at the Beijing Olympics. Messi scored two goals in the tournament- one against Ivory Coast in the group stages and one against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Messi’s Argentina didn’t lose a single game in the competition as they defeated Nigeria in the final. Argentina won the final with a solitary goal from Di Maria in the 58th minute.
Although this wasn’t Argentina’s first Olympic gold medal in soccer. The South American giants won their first Olympic gold in soccer in the 2004 Olympic games held in Athens. Winning all three of their group-stage games, Argentina defeated Paraguay 1-0 in the final courtesy of a goal from Carlos Tevez. However, since 2008, Argentina has failed to win the Olympic gold in soccer.
Lionel Messi nearly lost his Olympic gold medal due to FC Barcelona
Lionel Messi nearly missed out on winning the Olympic gold medal in a story that not many people know. Leading up to the Beijing Olympics, Messi’s club FC Barcelona didn’t want to part with their Argentine star. FC Barcelona were coming off after a very poor season that led to their Champions League qualification hanging by a thread.
Moreover, the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) granted FC Barcelona the legal authority to decide on Messi’s participation in the Olympic games. Despite the Catalan club’s hesitance to release their star player, it was the club’s new coach Pep Guardiola who turned out to be Messi’s guardian angel.
Guardiola, who had himself won the Olympic gold in 1992, understood how much the former FC Barcelona star wanted to take part in the Olympic games with Argentina. Messi later revealed, “Pep was phenomenal with me as nobody wanted me to go to the Olympics with the national team, but I wanted to go. He was the one who gave me the permission.“
He further added, “I remember that we were in the pre-season in Italy, and after a friendly match against Fiorentina, he grabbed me and said, ‘You want to go, don’t you?’ I said yes.” Looking back, the 36-year-old star once described his Olympic gold medal as one of his proudest moments. Messi stated that owing to the fact that a player gets to play only one Olympic game in their career, he values his gold medal very highly.