CHELSEA were reportedly ready to pay Lionel Messi £1MILLION a week to complete a world-record £225m transfer in 2014.
The Blues were prepared to dig deep into their pockets to land the Argentine superstar after boss Jose Mourinho held a FaceTime call with him, according to Sky Italy's Gianluca di Marzio.
Owner Roman Abramovich and Mourinho were keen to trigger Messi's buy-out clause and would have rewarded him spectacularly with annual wages of around £50m.
The report states Chelsea first contacted Messi in January 2014 during his tax fraud probe.
The forward was fed up with the Spanish authorities and a glitzy move to London looked an attractive proposition.
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Messi asked old Barca pal and player agent Deco for his opinion, having played at Stamford Bridge, before holding a video chat with Mourinho.
Messi is said to have been convinced by 'winner' Mourinho and was keen to finalise a deal.
But, according to the report, things fell through when Deco was eased out of discussions and Mourinho spoke directly to Messi.
Cesc Fabregas – who would move to West London that summer – told Deco who promptly informed Messi's dad Jorge and things unravelled.
Jorge was fuming that personal terms had been agreed without his say-so and promptly convinced his son to pull the plug on the ground-breaking deal.
Di Marzio also reports, in his new book Grand Hotel Calciomercato, that Real Madrid tried to pull off a similar move in 2013.
But loyal Messi was not interested in swapping El Clasico sides.
The 33-year-old had looked set for a move away from the Nou Camp this summer – with Man City reportedly ready to fork out £2.4m a week in wages.
But after expressing his desire to leave publicly, he made a dramatic U-turn after deciding he could not take the club to court in order to force an exit.
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