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Alex McLeish Was Bugged to Sign a Young Lionel Messi Due to 'Football Manager'

Sean Swaby@seanswabyUK Staff WriterOctober 8, 2014

PAULO DUARTE/Associated Press

Once upon a time, was a young Lionel Messi close to joining Rangers? 

No. Not at all. 

Was then-manager Alex McLeish prompted by someone to purchase the youngster many years ago? 

Yes. 

In a strange revelation, McLeish was continually bugged by his son Jon that he should sign the prolific 13-year-old Argentine while the elder was manager at Rangers. 

And, for good reason: Messi couldn't stop scoring for Jon at Football Manager. 

The younger McLeish enjoyed the popular Football Manager game and typically played with Barcelona. His strategy was to bring up youthful players instead of dropping large sums of money on expensive established players. 

Messi was quite good for Jon McLeish. So he bugged his old man to sign Messi, to which he shrugged off his son's video-game theories, to the now-distress of Rangers fans worldwide. 

Per Eurosport, Alex McLeish recalled the encounter: 

He told me that this guy [Messi] was going to be the best player in the world. And I said, 'OK, son.' Pat on the head. And let him get on with it. 

Both men described the details in a trailer for the documentary, 'The Football Manager.' 

[Eurosport]