It was an open secret that Pep Guardiola wanted to lure Lionel Messi to England, and Manchester City's mega offer that was snubbed by the Argentine has now reportedly been revealed.
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According to Marca, City's bosses decided it was "now or never" to try to lure the 30-year-old away from the Camp Nou in the latest transfer window.
FC Barcelona announced their superstar's contract extension on 5 July, but at the time the new deal was only signed by Messi's father and not the player himself. Marca claimed Barcelona rushed the announcement to cover some local controversy in Spain.
Soon after, though, Neymar left the club and signed a whopping deal with Paris Saint-Germain, seeing him surpass Messi's suggested new annual salary of €30 million (R480 million), and the Argentine's camp were not happy with Barca's latest offer any more, according to Marca.
City, meanwhile, saw their chance and submitted an offer directly to Sheikh Mansour, the owner of the City Football Group, instead of the usual intermediaries or agents. The mega contract to snap Messi up for free after his contract expired in June 2018 reportedly included a €100 million (R1.6 billion) signing-on bonus for the player and an annual salary of €50 million (R800 million).
As a consequence, Barca also had to increase their offer from the contract that was initially signed by Messi's father to €50 million annually. The player himself reportedly signed three contracts – one for his charity, one for his image rights and one to guarantee him €50 million per year until 2021.
Gazetto dello Sport journalist Tancredi Palmeri recently suggested that Messi pockets €40 million (R640 million) annually after tax deductions, but excluding income from bonus payments and endorsement deals, making him the joint-highest earner in football.
Do you think Messi would have been as dominant for City in England as he is for Barcelona in Spain? Have your say in the comments section below.