Jose Mourinho almost convinced Lionel Messi to quit Barcelona for Chelsea, it has been revealed.
Italian transfer expert Gianluca di Marzio reports the Argentine forward was willing to play under the Portuguese coach with whom he had a long private call.
This was the first time Messi thought of leaving the Blaugrana although the deal with Chelsea didn’t go through.
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The Barcelona captain remained at the club and 16 years later, at the age of 33, decided to ask to be released.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu did not grant his request and pointed potential suitors to Messi’s 700-million-euro release clause.
With one year left in his contract, the Argentina international made the decision to stay at the club despite rumours linking him with a move to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.