From Leo Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba…they all had their professional sliding doors. What could their destiny be?
Is there any football manager or president in the world who wouldn’t aim to sign Leo Messi for his team? Yes there is. His name is Enrico Preziosi. Enrico Preziosi, Genoa F.C. president has revealed he could have signed Barcelona’s Lionel Messi when he was just 15, but rejected the proposal when he was in charge of Como. Messi’s career has obviously left Preziosi to rue his decision not to sign him as a teenager. “When I was president of Como we had Messi on trial. He was 15 and we rejected him,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “We had been following him when he was 14 and he was already a phenomenon at the time. “But we didn’t sign him because of certain things that were going on at Como at the time. As often happens, sometimes you make mistakes. But there isn’t any regret.” He added: “When you sign a young lad, there is always a rigmarole even with regard to the parents. The club had to commit to doing certain things because he was a minor. Then we thought that we shouldn’t sign him also because of the approach that we have in Italy, where we all too often aren’t interested in following young players. Almost no one signs players like this in Italy, thinking about all the rigmarole it takes for them to become an important player and then to sign a contract as a professional.”
A similar thing happened to another Italian club with the Portuguese phenomenon Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003. Parma Calcio officials have revealed their disappointment at losing out to Manchester United in the chase to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. It has emerged that president Stefano Tanzi was quietly confident of landing the Sporting Lisbon starlet before the dazzling winger clinched a big-money move to Old Trafford. Sporting Lisbon and Parma teams already agreed the deal but Sporting Lisbon went to play a friendly match against Manchester United during the summer. Once Sir Alex Ferguson watched Ronaldo’s skill he didn’t let him ago anywhere else making him joining the United to replace David Beckham who moved to Real Madrid. The Portuguese international made a stunning debut against Bolton Wanderers, but was less effective in the drab 1-0 win over Wolves, when Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the teenager’s poor performance was due to the fact that he was not wearing proper studs on his boots. “The only regret is with Cristiano Ronaldo – Parma’s president Tanzi said – I wanted him, we went very close to getting him, but, unfortunately, Manchester inserted themselves between us and the player at the least timely moment.”
Chievo President Luca Campedelli revealed his biggest regret was “deciding not to sign Didier Drogba” when he was still only 19. “What is my biggest regret? Drogba, obviously,” Campedelli told L’Arena when marking the 20th anniversary of his time at the helm.“We had already got him, but we also needed the sales of Luciano and Christian Manfredini to Lazio to go through. Once those moves collapsed, we didn’t feel ready to pay £3m. “Drogba was still only 19, but our director Luigi Sartori had seen him and was in love. He absolutely adored this player. “Let’s just say at the time we lacked a bit of entrepreneurial madness, but looking back it would’ve been the right risk to take.” Ivory Coast striker Drogba was already in France at this time playing for Ligue 2 club Le Mans. He then moved to Guingamp, Marseille and Chelsea in 2004 where he spent 8 seasons, playing 226 games and scoring 100 goals where he became the player that we all know and love.