AT ONE stage Gustavo Oberman was rated ahead of Lionel Messi.

He even kept the now seven-time Ballon d’Or winner out of Argentina’s line up in the opening match of the U20 World Cup in 2005.

A then 18-year-old Messi broke into the team for the next match, scored in every knockout game and was named Player of the Tournament.

Oberman also kept Sergio Aguero out of the starting XI as he and Messi guided Argentina to victory, lifting the trophy together.

But the forward, now 37, went on to be a journeyman whilst his team-mates shone in the most-elite competitions in the world.

And he has recently been let go by Dock Sud, a team in the fourth tier of the Argentine football league.

Stints in the top division with Argentinos Juniors and River Plate early on is his career showed promise.

But a period in Spain saw his career falter while at the same time Messi started tearing it up for Barcelona in LaLiga.

Time in Romania, Chile and India eventually led Oberman back to Buenos Aires with Dock Sud.

But after four years with the side, the attacking midfielder has seen his contract terminated.

He told AS: “The decision not to continue was made by the coach, he told me that he was not going to take me into account.

“I wanted to continue until the end of the year and finish my time at the Dock on the field, but there was no possibility.

“I feel sad, I think that after what we experienced at the club, I deserved another ending.

“But the reality is that what we have achieved in these years will remain forever.”

Meanwhile, Messi is preparing to captain the national team for his fifth World Cup with Argentina in Qatar this winter.

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