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 By Chris Wright

Lionel Messi played at Chelsea in FIFA game online - Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that Lionel Messi always plumped for a somewhat surprising team of choice when the pair used to play FIFA online against each other during their younger days.

With Messi at Barcelona and Zabaleta playing for neighbouring Espanyol at the time, the two Argentinian internationals were fierce rivals on the pitch but remained good friends off it and often gamed together when the opportunity arose.

Discussing their friendship, Zabaleta revealed that rather than opting for Barca or the Albiceleste, Messi instead regularly chose to play as Chelsea when it came to their intense FIFA battles.

Given the Blues' stacked squad at the time -- Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Petr Cech, Claude Makelele -- it's not difficult to see why Messi gravitated toward them.

Maybe that fabled Premier League move wasn't quite as far away as we thought.

Chris covers the funny side of the game for ESPN FC in the Toe Poke blog.

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