REVEALED: How Messi almost joined Chelsea last summer after adidas offered to pay half of the staggering £210m deal to Barcelona
Lionel Messi could have signed for Chelsea in the summer after adidas offered to pay half of his
£210 million buy-out clause, according to Barcelona sports paper Mundo Deportivo.
Messi, who joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old after the club paid for expensive hormone therapy treatment without which he would never have made the grade as a professional, has always had a strong emotional bond with the club.
But according to Mundo Deportivo, adidas saw the opportunity to prise him away from Barca – and effectively from Nike who sponsor the Catalan giants – and move him to one of their three main European clubs: Chelsea, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
The pro-Barcelona daily says that Messi’s representatives were made aware of adidas’ proposal and that they then informed the club, who were also told Messi had no intention of leaving the club.
Even if adidas had stumped up the £105m, Chelsea would still have had to find the other £105m and manager Jose Mourinho would have had to convince a player with whom he has never had a very good relationship that the two could work together.
Mourinho famously accused Messi of ‘theatre’ after he was involved in Asier Del Horno’s sending off in a 2006 Chelsea v Barcelona clash, and was subsequently public enemy No.1 for Barca and Messi as Real Madrid coach.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez would have pulled off a coup to top even the swiping of Luis Figo in 2000 if he had signed Messi.
It has long been his intention and he may have felt with the arrival of Neymar at the Camp Nou he could tempt the four-time Ballon d’Or winner to defect.
Barcelona would have done everything possible to keep Messi but, as with Figo, if Real had paid the £210m (€250million) buy-out clause Barça would have been forced to sell putting Messi in the same team as Cristiano Ronaldo and bringing to an end any interest in Gareth Bale.
HE’S A MESSI EATER
Bayern Munich were the third team suggested by Mundo Deportivo as being capable of completing the sensation transfer. By moving Messi to Germany, adidas would have given a massive boost not just to Bayern but to the Bundesliga.
But Messi did not finish on the best of terms with Pep Guardiola at the Nou Camp and Bayern, like Chelsea and Madrid, would have found it difficult to convince the player to make the move.
Messi goes into Wednesday’s game with Milan on a run of three games without a goal and another theory circulated in Barcelona on Tuesday – this is a good moment to remind Barca fans of Messi’s commitment to the cause as he passes through what, by his incredibly high standards, is a low point in his time at the club.