We’ve heard the story many times in the past of how Manchester City made a play for Lionel Messi, were given encouragement, but ultimately failed to sign the world’s greatest footballer.
Now, in an exclusive report by major Spanish news outlet El Mundo, comes information that Messi seriously considered a reunion with Pep Guardiola in 2017 during the Catalonia political crisis.
According to the story, City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano negotiated directly with Jorge Messi, father of the Barcelona superstar, with contacts ongoing between November 2016 and December 2017.
Manchester City’s offer included paying Messi’s €250 million release clause to Barcelona, offering the Argentine forward €250 million in wages over the span of a five-year contract, and handing Jorge Messi a €50 million bonus if he could convince his son to move to Manchester.
Eventually, the 31-year-old once again renewed his Barcelona deal, pocketing an improved annual salary of €35 million net, with an increased release clause of €700 million.
Messi’s fears over the possibility of Catalan independence have led to him including a new clause in his latest deal that could see him quit Camp Nou if the region secedes from Spain and Barça are left outside of Europe’s major leagues.