Imagine a team with two of football’s herculean forces- Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Well, it has come out that the Real Madrid president Florentino Perez almost did the unthinkable in 2013; he almost signed Lionel Messi.
According to German outlet Der Spiegel, the magazine that got out the Football Leaks, Los Blancos had planned out a mega deal to rope in Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
Perez was willing to smash a world record fee of £222mn to sign the Argentine way back in 2013, before Paris Saint Germain actually signed Neymar from Barcelona in the summer of 2017.
Along with initiating the £222mn release clause, Perez was also willing to offer Messi a contract worth a whopping £20m a year that would amount to a stunning £384,000-a-week almost five years ago.
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Sources claim that the Real Madrid President planned on pursuing Leo aboard a private jet, in the company of Inigo Juarez – then Messi’s family lawyer – Real’s sporting director Miguel Pardeza and a Real Madrid lawyer.
The mammoth deal would have made Lionel Messi the highest paid footballer and also kept him at Madrid till the summer of 2021. Der Spiegel also reported that Messi’s father, Jorge, would have earned £900,000 (€1mn) from his son’s transfer to the Spanish capital.
The deal however, never saw the day of light. But it remains unclear on why the interest was snubbed out from either of the parties.
Real Madrid eventually went on to smash the world record transfer fee by signing Gareth Bale that summer for €100mn from Tottenham Hotspurs. Lionel Messi stayed put at Camp Nou, winning the Treble with Blaugrana in 2015 and retaining the La Liga in 2016.
The Argentine recently signed a contract extension with the Catalan giants that includes a £626m release clause and terms of £500,000 a week, keeping him at Barcelona till the summer of 2021.