Before he left Barcelona in strange, controversial circumstances last summer, Lionel Messi wanted to club to sign then Liverpool forward Sadio Mané to form an explosive attacking duo, according to Mané’s agent Bacary Cissé.
Mané has recently joined Bayern Munich in a big-money move from Liverpool, a transfer that incidentally could help Barcelona’s pursuit of Robert Lewandowski. After a great career with Liverpool Mané is off to Germany for a new challenge, but he could have gone to a different country 12 months ago.
Speaking to French media this week, Mané’s agent Bacary Cissé revealed that Lionel Messi asked Barça to acquire the Senegalese winger as one of the conditions to sign a new contract with the club. Messi infamously didn’t re-sign with the Catalans, which led to Mané staying in England for one more year.
“Last year it could have also happened with FC Barcelona. It was Lionel Messi who imposed Sadio Mané in the deal when it was a question of him extending [with] Barça. He had given two names: Sadio Mané and an Argentinian central defender.”
Source: RMC Sport
The Argentinian central defender mentioned by Cissé is Cristian Romero, who himself revealed last year that Messi requested his signing at Barça before Romero moved to Tottenham Hotspur instead. Barça obviously didn’t have the money to sign any of the two players Messi asked for, and Leo himself ended up having to go to Paris Saint-Germain once the financial situation made it impossible for him to stay — even though Messi and the fans were promised something completely different.
Things have changed a lot since then and Barça seem to be in a good place with an exciting group of young players and a summer window that could make them competitive again, but it is certainly fun to imagine what a front three of Lionel Messi, Sadio Mané and Ansu Fati could have been, especially with Xavi Hernández in charge.
We’ll never know.