May 20, 2009

MANCHESTER, England (AP) -- Manchester City dismissed reports in the Spanish media on Wednesday that it made an offer to sign Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and he turned the club down.

The reports said City had made a $207 million deal to buy out the remainder of Messi's contract with the Spanish league champion and Champions League finalist and then pay him a further $14 million a year to play in the Premier League.

City issued a statement on Wednesday saying no such bid had been made.

"Manchester City Football Club note with interest the reports circulating in the Spanish media that the club has made an offer to the Barcelona player Lionel Messi and that he has turned down the chance to join the club," the statement said.

"While acknowledging that Lionel Messi is a world-class player of the highest caliber, Manchester City would like to make it clear that the club has at no time made an approach to Mr. Messi or his representatives."

Owned since September by a wealthy business consortium from Abu Dhabi, Man City had a $150 million move for AC Milan's Kaka rejected by the player in January.

You May Like