Lionel Messi rejected the opportunity to become the world's best-paid player by a country mile last season after an audacious approach from an unnamed Chinese Super League club failed to convince the superstar to turn his back on Barcelona.
Desperate to propel Chinese football onto the world map officials from the league are said to have tabled an offer in the region of €100m-a-year to the 30-year-old - which would have resulted in a staggering £1.7m pay cheque each week, according to Mundo Deportivo.
However, the astronomical amount of money being thrown around did not lure Messi in as the Argentina international went on to extend his contract with Barcelona in November, which will run until 2021.
Despite turning down the lucrative offer from abroad the five time Ballon d'Or winner still earns a fortune at Camp Nou. His deal with the Spanish giants sees him as one of the world's highest paid players, collecting £500,000-a-week before any image rights or loyalty bonuses are even taken into consideration.
Messi's new deal is said to include a €700m release clause, but those in the Chinese Super League have not been deterred in their quest to sign the world's best player as the report claims several clubs can not only trigger his release, but also table a breathtaking pay packet.
The league have learnt, however, that Messi will not be convinced on salary alone and have plotted another course to peak his interest, and that is by tugging on his heart strings.
Messi's international teammates and close friends Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano have both joined Hebei Chine Fortune in the last two seasons.