Lionel Messi turned down Manchester City’s offer to “triple the salary he has at Barcelona”, Khaldoon al Mubarak has revealed.
The Argentine superstar was linked with a shock switch to England back in 2016, as Pep Guardiola took the managerial reins at the Etihad Stadium.
Speculation resurfaced last year as Barca struggled to get official confirmation of a new deal over the line, with it suggested that a five-time Ballon d’Or winner could be ready for a fresh start.
In the end, Messi committed to an extension in Catalunya through to 2021.
He had, however, been approached by City long before putting pen to paper, with Guardiola eager to be reunited with the mercurial forward in the Premier League.
Asked at a media conference in the UAE about the one player the Blues would have loved to have signed, City chairman Al Mubarak said: “Messi.
“We asked Guardiola to talk to him, we offered him triple the salary he has at Barcelona, but he never accepted.”
At 31 years of age, and with rumours now circulating regarding another new contract for Messi, it appears unlikely that the South American superstar will be leaving his current surroundings.
If he is to see out his playing days at Camp Nou, then he will hang up his boots as a one-club man.
Barca are confident that they can make that happen, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu telling the Times: “He doesn’t want to leave.
“We always tell him he can be a one-club man. That is his project too.”
City appear to have accepted that Messi is out of their reach, with other targets having been chased down.
They remain one of few clubs in world football that could afford to finance a deal if the exit door were to ever be opened in Catalunya, but they are being offered no encouragement in that chase.