Barca Legend Rejected City
Lionel Messi turned down the chance of a move to Manchester City even though the Premier League side offered to treble his wages.
Messi has long been on City’s radar and those rumours intensified following Pep Guardiola’s appointment as manager at the Etihad in 2016.
But the Argentina international rejected the chance to move to England. He has spent his entire professional career at the Nou Camp and has spurned multiple offers to move away from the Catalan side.
City chief executive Khaldoon al Mubarak admitted at a conference in Abu Dhabi that the Premier League club made the approach.
In a question-and-answer session at the ‘Majlis for Future Generations 2018’, sponsored by Mohamed Bin Zayed , Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and held on 10 and 11 October, al Mubarak was asked: “What player did you want for City that you could not get?”
“Messi,” came the reply.
“We asked Guardiola to speak to him. We offered him triple the salary he has at Barça , but he never accepted.”
City are denying al Mubarak made those remarks.
Messi has since signed a new deal with Barcelona that sees him earn around €50million a year – the equivalent of almost €1million a week.
The contract runs to 2021; however, there is a clause in the deal that would allow Messi to leave the Nou Camp on a free transfer in 2020. The only stipulation is that he would not be able to sign for an ‘elite’ club – one in Europe’s top leagues.
The clause would facilitate a switch to MLS, China or the Middle East although it is believed Messi would prefer a switch to Newell’s Old Boys, the team he played for as a boy.
Barcelona are trying to to get Messi’s contract extended to 2022 or even 2023 by which time he would be 36 years old.