Barcelona once turned down an outrageous £225million bid for Lionel Messi from Inter Milan, according to club president Joan Laporta.
The Catalan politician, who was the club’s chief between 2003 and 2010 before returning to the post last year, says the Italian giants tabled the sensational bid back in 2006.
“Nobody who loves Barcelona can have doubts about Messi,” he told Radio Onda Cero last April.
“We rejected a £225m offer coming from Inter in 2006. [Massimo] Moratti wanted to bring him to his club.”
The offer was more than quadruple the world-record transfer fee at the time, which was £46.6m that Real Madrid forked out for Zinedine Zidane in 2001.
At the time Messi had got his hands on his first Champions League triumph with Barcelona, whilst Inter had won Serie A and boasted the likes of Javier Zanetti, Adriano and Luis Figo in their ranks.
Ultimately, Barca lost their legend for free when he departed for PSG once his contract expired before the beginning of the last season.
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Former club figure Jaume Llopis, who resigned in 2021, previously hit out at Laporta for the handling of Messi.
“The first contract was not accepted because, according to Laporta, it meant mortgaging the TV rights of Barcelona for the next 50 years,” he told Cadena SER.
“But CVC were willing to negotiate. And they did not negotiate either.
“Laporta was convinced by Ferran Reverter, the new CEO, that it was not possible to sign with CVC, and by Florentino Perez with the European Super League project.
“It also happens that Ferran Reverter has a long-standing friendship with Florentino Perez and between them they convinced him and Laporta to radically change his mind and refuse to continue negotiating.”
Messi’s future will again be the subject of much discussion this summer with his PSG contract set to expire.
Talks are scheduled to take place now the World Cup is over, with Messi winning it all with Argentina.
“Will we keep Messi and Mbappe? Of course,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “They are the two best players in the World Cup. I don’t want to say anything more about Leo, we have an agreement to talk after the World Cup.”
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