According to a sensational report from the Spanish newspaper Diario, Real Madrid attempted to negotiate a sensational €250million deal to sign Barcelona’s Lionel Messi last summer before settling for former Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale.
Following Barcelona’s signing of Brazilian Neymar, Real reportedly saw an opportunity to make Barcelona an offer they could not refuse for Lionel Messi.
Los Blancos' intentions were both from a sporting perspective and as a marketing scheme.
Real Madrid’s official brand is that of German manufacturer Adidas, and incidentally, Argentine maestro Lionel Messi is also signed up to Adidas – despite donning Barcelona’s Nike kits.
The 26-year-old four-time Ballon d’Or winner is an absolute phenomenon, and when placing all financial gains into perspective, his reported €250million release clause is definitely within reach of the world’s richest clubs.
Following rumbles in Barcelona last summer that Messi was not feeling 100% satisfied – reportedly as a result of no longer being the world’s best player and Neymar’s rather complicated signing – Real allegedly took their shot and communicated with Catalan representatives.
Lionel Messi’s father, Jorge Messi, however, was adamant that his son was staying in Barcelona and politely warned off Real Madrid’s intentions.
He reportedly said: “Thanks, but no thanks. We will always listen, but we won’t negotiate.”
Madrid, however, did not stop there and reportedly held a meeting in the Barcelona restaurant Rias de Galicia in late August in one last-ditch attempt to salvage the biggest transfer deal in history in August.
After all the faith Barcelona had placed in Messi, and what the club had done for his family over the years, no deal between the clubs could ever take place. The meeting was said to be abrupt, without details or an offer – the situation was clear, Messi was staying at Barca.
Allegedly, a few hours after the final meeting, it was September 1 and Real Madrid had just signed Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur on a six-year deal for a reported world-record transfer fee.
Fortunately for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, the former Spurs star has not been a bad second choice, if indeed the report is true. In 22 La Liga games, the 24-year-old star has netted 14 goals and provided a further 12 assists – contributing to a goal on average every 76 minutes.
In his debut season in the Spanish capital, Gareth Bale has already won the Copa del Rey and is one game away from helping the club complete their ultimate dream – their 10th European Cup crown.
Will Lionel Messi stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career?