By 90Min
January 13, 2018

Real Madrid were ready to do the unthinkable and try to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in the summer of 2013, a deal that would have been a supercharged version of the one that saw Luis Figo controversially swap Camp Nou for the Bernabeu in 2000.


Information from Swiss outlet Spiegel, shared by sister publication El Mundo in Spain, claims that Messi's then lawyer, Inigo Juarez, informed the player's father of interest from Real.

David Ramos/GettyImages

This was June 2013, not long before Los Blancos broke the world transfer record to sign Gareth Bale for €100m, with Real allegedly prepared to trigger Messi's buyout clause. Imagine, the Neymar to PSG deal that took place in 2017, but four years earlier and way more dramatic.

The clause stood at €250m at that time, around three times what Real had paid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. It is claimed the Madrid giants were also willing to pay Messi a very handsome net salary of €23m per year on a lengthy eight-year contract to 2021.

It is alleged that Real, who are believed to have made three other attempts to sign Messi during his lifetime, wanted to conduct a meeting on a private jet, in the air. There is even a claim that Juarez told Messi's father and agent, Jorge, that Real would 'pressure' Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the event that the player was open to tax fraud.

Exactly how much truth there is to any of this remains unclear. What is interesting to consider is the implication for Ronaldo. It was, of course, 2013 that he was most unhappy at Real and apparently came close to rejoining former club Manchester United as it was.

That ultimately never happened following the retirement of mentor and father figure Sir Alex Ferguson from the Old Trafford bench, but would great personal rival Messi arriving on his turf in Madrid have pushed Ronaldo over the edge?

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