Messi during the Gamper 2005 / FCB

24 August 2005. That is the day that Leo Messi was included in the starting eleven for the Joan Gamper Trophy game against Juventus, the reigning Serie A champions and one of the best teams in Europe at the time. That day the result was not the overriding concern given that Frank Rijkaard’s side went down to defeat on penalties following a 2-2 over 90 minutes. Nobody would have thought, with players of the quality of Ronaldinho, Deco, Ibrahimovic and Del Piero on the field, that an 18 year old called Leo Messi would be the one to grab the headlines.

The Argentine stood out for his dribbling ability, his capacity to go past people, including experienced defenders such as Cannavaro who was unable to stop Messi from conjuring up a great assist in the second half for Iniesta to make it 2-2. The then Barça number 30’s performance was so remarkable that the evening at Camp Nou has become known as ‘Messi’s Gamper’.

Ovation at Camp Nou

Coach Frank Rijkaard substituted Messi in the 90th minute of the game and the crowd reacted to his breathtaking display by rewarding him with a standing ovation. Nobody imagined at the time just how many more night like that one there would be.

Coach of Juventus at the time Fabio Capello admitted that after that Gamper he asked Barça if he could take Messi on loan. “I had never seen anything like it from an 18 year old. At the end of the game I went to ask Frank Rijkaard if he had too many foreign players and if we could take him on loan. I asked to sign him but they said he was not for sale,” confessed Capello.


Messi's amazing performance vs Juventus (Gamper... by fcbarcelona