Lionel Messi has long been seen as the symbol of Barcelona since Ronaldinho departed the club in 2008, yet it has emerged that he had the opportunity to sign for Real Madrid, which he turned down.
It seems impossible to imagine the Argentine in the famous white shirt, but that was indeed both the dream and plan of Florentino Perez back in 2013.
As reported by Italian journalist, Gianluca Di Marzio, the offer arrived at a time just before Real Madrid’s period of European dominance and Barcelona’s lean years on the continent would begin.
“The proposal from the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, was presented in 2013 and he offered 250 million euros for the Argentine,” Di Marzio published in his book ‘Grand Hotel Calciomercato’.
“That money was originally intended for the redevelopment of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
“However, Messi’s response was very blunt, he essentially said ‘I’m not going to Real Madrid, you’re wasting your time’.”
This offer had previously been mooted by Football Leaks back in 2018, however Di Marzio has been able to shed more light on the situation.
The truth is that Real Madrid were not the only club to have tried to prise Messi away from Catalonia over the course of his career.
Massimo Moratti declared it to be his dream to bring Messi to Inter, yet he failed, whilst Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also hit the dead-end which has been marked by the forward’s loyalty to the club which developed him as a young player.