Barcelona took a huge step towards reclaiming the Liga title by defeating their nearest challengers Atlético Madrid 1-0 on Sunday, Leo Messi curling in a sumptuous free-kick to secure victory.
That prompted Diego Simeone to remark of the Argentinean’s impact after the game: “It was so close if he had put on an Atlético shirt we would have won.”
As much as Atlético Madrid fans would doubtless like to see Messi in the red-and-white strip on a regular basis, the Barcelona star did once pull on an Atlético jersey. It was in October 2009 in a charity game in his native city of Rosario, at Newell’s Old Boys’ stadium, the club where Messi started his career.
Messi and Maxi Rodríguez in Atlético Foundation game
Messi turned out that day in a side captained by then-Atlético captain Maxi Rodríguez, wearing an Atlético shirt in the first half, before switching to Javier Zanetti’s team in the second period.
The game, played under the slogan “Solidarity without borders,” was organised by the Atlético Madrid Foundation and the Fundación Pupi Zanetti, who was then the captain of Inter Milan, in benefit of underprivileged children in Argentina.