The Spanish newspaper El Mundo has reported that Lionel Messi seriously considered leaving Barcelona late last year.
Lionel Messi seriously considered leaving Barcelona to sign for Manchester City late last year, El Mundo has claimed in a report that reveals all the figures involved in negotiations that the player's camp allegedly held with the Premier League club between December 2016 and November 2017.
Messi offered 250 million euros after tax
The newspaper says that, in exchange for swapping the Camp Nou for the Etihad Stadium, Messi was being offered 250 million euros net over five years, with City to pay the Argentine's Barça release clause, which at the time stood at 250 million.
According to the report, the talks took place between City CEO - and former Barça vice-president - Ferrán Soriano and Messi's father and agent, Jorge, who was to be paid a net sum of 50 million euros if he was able to convince his son to make the move to Manchester.
Anti-Catalan independence clause
Contact between City and Messi Sr. reached its peak in October 2017, amid a political crisis in Catalonia that left the player weighing up a departure. Indeed, the 31-year-old's fears over the possibility of Catalan independence have led him to include a clause in his current contract allowing him to leave on a free if the region secedes from Spain and Barça are left outside of any of Europe's major leagues.
Finally, Messi agreed a new, four-year deal with Barcelona in November 2017, one that sees the star pocket an improved annual wage of 35 million euros net and includes an increased, 700-million-euro release clause.