In 2013, before Real Madrid paid a world-record fee for Gareth Bale, Los Blancos had another target: Lionel Messi.
In a sensational report published in Der Spiegel, based on documents from Football Leaks, Real Madrid were prepared to activate Messi’s €250 million release clause and to offer Messi €23 million per year until 2021, and to give his father, Jorge Messi, a further €1m.
Madrid transmitted the offer to Messi via the player’s lawyer, Iñígo Juárez, who relayed the information to the Argentine and his father.
Real Madrid planned to take the Barcelona star on a private jet to have a meeting between the player, Juárez, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, their sporting Director Miguel Pardeza, and a Real Madrid lawyer.
Additionally, the report says that Madrid promised Juárez they would pressure Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy to drop a tax evasion investigation against Messi if he joined them.
The club has called the report “totally false.” Of course, Messi did not join Real Madrid in any case.