Lionel Messi at Stamford Bridge in a blue shirt? Chelsea have been on the verge of pulling off the nice coup in 2014, when Jose Mourinho charmed the Barcelona famous person to maneuver to the Premier League, reveals Sky in Italy’s Gianluca Di Marzio…
The 33-year-old has been tempted right into a transfer away from La Liga greater than as soon as, most recently in August, when his €700m launch clause priced him out of a transfer regardless of an official switch request.
However in 2014, Chelsea have been able to activate that launch clause which amounted to €250m on the time, and pay the Argentine a internet wage of £50m per season to signal him – one thing which Di Marzio considers as “the most important unknown story within the switch market”.
Talks unfolded in the course of the tax evasion probe opened by the Spanish authorities towards Messi’s household in 2013, which by the player’s own admission made him consider leaving the country.
In his newest e-book Grand Resort Calciomercato, a diary of the untold tales of the switch market, Di Marzio reveals how a “field workplace” face-to-face video name with Jose Mourinho persuaded Messi to make the swap.
Nonetheless, it was the involvement of his father and agent Jorge and former team-mate Deco that made the deal collapse like a “cleaning soap bubble that bursts and vanishes in skinny air” regardless of private phrases being agreed.
It is also claimed Actual Madrid president Florentino Perez tried to safe Messi on the identical foundation a yr earlier than Chelsea, however the Argentine turned down the method due to his standing at Barcelona.
Learn the total excerpt beneath to find simply how shut Messi got here to turning into a Blue…
How Chelsea virtually pulled off the nice coup
Now shut your eyes and movie this: Messi to Actual Madrid, increase. The most important coup of all time. Certainly, Florentino Perez tried to drag it off in 2013, sending a number of of his most trusted representatives to make an enquiry for his or her most feared rival.
The plan was anticipated to be carried out by way of the fee of his launch clause – 250 million Euros to be paid, in money, to Barcelona. Perez might have used that very same payment to restructure the Bernabeu, however as an alternative he allotted it to aim bringing Messi to Madrid.
Nonetheless, the preliminary method wasn’t the most effective – truly removed from it. The lads despatched to investigate about Leo’s availability have been rebuffed fairly impolitely by his camp.
“I am not coming to Actual, you are losing your time!” he stated, with no ‘thanks on your curiosity’ or, certainly, with out exploring the monetary side and the potential monumental wages concerned.
Florentino, one of the highly effective males in Spain, didn’t admire it. It might have been a coincidence, however a number of months later a protracted tax struggle broke out towards the Argentine’s household they usually have been finally pressured to fork out 53 million Euros.
A tax struggle towards the champion. The identical misadventure occurred to Cristiano Ronaldo, who boarded a flight to affix Juventus. Even Messi had that form of tummy ache, and he significantly thought of saying goodbye to Barcelona and the nation that adopted him.
To go the place? To Chelsea! For 2 important causes: the attraction of London and the respect for Mourinho, Blues boss on the time. It is January 2014, we’re proper in the course of that tax fraud probe, with the World Cup in Brazil edging ever nearer.
“I need to go to Chelsea, let’s hurry up.”
His temptation is sparked by rage in direction of the Spanish tax. Just a few months later, the sensation is materialised within the type of a cellphone name with former team-mate Deco, now an agent after just lately retiring and spending two years at Stamford Bridge with [Roman] Abramovich on the helm.
Messi additionally asks for assist to a different good friend in his camp, somebody who personally is aware of the best folks to kickstart the method and pull off the nice coup. Deco guarantees Leo he’ll meet Abramovich quickly, whereas his good friend goes to Mourinho to attempt to make him fall in love with the staggering prospect.
A lunch date is about up in London, at Mourinho’s mansion. On one facet, the three intermediaries that discuss via the mission and its feasibility, on the opposite facet the Chelsea boss, who nonetheless struggles to imagine what is going on on.
So, what are you able to do to make him lose all doubt? A FaceTime name, with Mourinho and Messi nose to nose. Field workplace stuff.
“Hello Leo, I am Jose!” and it is speedy fireworks.
Two footballing legends one in entrance of the opposite, who regardless of being everlasting rivals, have at all times had a secret fling to get collectively. Mourinho’s front room turns into the theatre of a candle-lit aperitif the place the 2 alternate flirtatious seems and goo goo eyes.
“The way you doing, champ?” the coach breaks the ice. “They simply informed me about your want: properly, you do not know how could sleepless nights I’ve had, looking for a option to cease you. I’ve tried to make use of numerous methods it will all work till you’ll discover the successful dribble and rating. You are the most effective, full cease.”
So the technique begins turning right into a crafty, astute manoeuvre, worthy of the most effective Mourinho.
“So, what I am going to let you know? That it’s worthwhile to keep precisely the place you’re!” he says, sending shock-waves all through the room and the folks round him, who have been already tasting their slice of the cake of tens of millions of Euros in agent charges.
On the opposite facet of the decision, the look on Messi’s face modifications drastically. He thinks a few hidden digicam and a well-executed prank, he underestimates the Particular One’s trickery. However the latter insists.
“Do not depart, they will construct you a statue there, keep in Barcelona. That’s the absolute best place for a primary such as you. Nonetheless…” right here it’s, the screamer from the ace within the dugout, a spell-binding counter-attack that modifications the complexion of the sport.
“If one morning you get up, you could have your breakfast on the coaching floor however the espresso does not style the identical, the sky instantly turns gray, you do not like your automotive anymore, you are feeling unhappy in your approach dwelling, you are not pleased, your loved ones isn’t pleased, properly, in that darkish and gloomy second of your life… then sure, you’ll have to open the gate of happiness once more. And behind that gate, you can see me, Jose Mourinho, ready for you!”
Checkmate. Messi laughs and he is already loopy about his new suitor, the one factor that is lacking is the ring to have fun the marriage proposal.
The plan now sees a gathering within the Chelsea headquarters, with the highly effective deal-breaker Marina [Granovskaia] alerted by her boss Abramovich. A 20-metre lengthy Mercedes chauffeurs the 2 intermediaries, as one begins searching of the window to identify good homes to purchase with all the cash he will earn in agent charges.
The automotive stops in entrance of Stamford Bridge and earlier than the 2 step out Leo, buzzing for the crimson roses handed to him by Mourinho, makes himself heard.
“With Mourinho, for the way he is spoken to me, I can win no matter I would like: he is a winner, go forward and shut the deal.”
Excellent. The plan works, it looks like there is no such thing as a impediment in sight. It is 3pm, the assembly with Granovskaia begins and he or she doesn’t blink, as she smells the scent of a deal which might change the course of historical past.
A launch clause of 250 million Euros? Examine. Stellar wages? Examine. Picture rights? Examine. As for the small print, Leo’s dad Jorge Horacio, who manages the pursuits of his six-time Ballon d’Or winner son, can be quickly concerned.
Right here it’s, the potential massive sticking level: Jorge Messi doesn’t ask too many questions however again then he was saved in the dead of night of Leo’s want – and he didn’t know concerning the plan, put in movement by any individual else, to prise him away from Barcelona.
It is now July, Marina is making ready the detailed supply, whereas Mourinho is grinning from ear to ear at Cobham. Earlier than he will get the afternoon coaching underway, Cesc Fabregas – who simply signed for Chelsea from Barcelona – approaches him celebrating as if he simply scored a objective.
“Gaffer, Leo desires to return right here! It is unimaginable! We have been pals for so long as I can keep in mind, it will be unbelievable… Deco referred to as me to inform me and also you, as you are not selecting up his calls,” and right here it’s, the opposite cog within the wheel that may make the deal collapse. Deco, seduced after which deserted, on this deal.
“Sure, I do know every little thing. I even talked with Messi the opposite day” Mourinho replies, with out interested by the catastrophic penalties. Fabregas warns Deco of the contact between the 2 events, and the scenario spirals uncontrolled as Deco decides to snitch with the message immediately delivered to Leo’s father and agent.
It ought to have by no means occurred. So, whereas Chelsea formally offers the intermediaries the inexperienced gentle to the participant’s request of £50m per season plus 70 per cent of picture rights, catastrophe strikes. Dad Jorge calls up Leo asking for a proof.
“I do not know what you are speaking about, I swear,” says the Blaugrana No 10, denying cellphone calls and wishes, goodbye plans and English initiatives.
A cleaning soap bubble that hits the ground, bursts and vanishes in skinny air, with out leaving the slightest mark, similar to it by no means occurred. It was like a shocking back-pass if you’re about to faucet into an empty internet. Not very Messi-like, however perhaps not that shocking from Leo, understanding the dynamics of a household the place the heavy weight of the daddy is universally recognised.
“If he is telling me to, then I am going to signal with my eyes closed,” Messi stated to the Spanish magistrates throughout that tax probe. Now you might most likely add “I’d by no means be courageous sufficient to do one thing with out involving him,” not to mention admit a hidden fact.
Abramovich got here to phrases with it, swallowing a bitter capsule, though he by no means likes shedding. The livid intermediaries that have been flirting with the coup have been pressured to flee and take their eyes off these big flats in London’s richest areas. And Messi stayed precisely the place he was, renewing his deal in Barcelona yearly, one pay rise after the opposite.