Former Manchester City defender Michael Ball has exclusively told This is Futbol that Pep Guardiola’s men wanted to sign Lionel Messi last summer – and missed a huge opportunity this time around.
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However, following Barcelona’s ongoing financial problems, Messi finally ended his 21-year stay at the club when his exit was confirmed earlier this month.
And Ball told This is Futbol that whilst the Premier League champions were keen on signing Messi 12 months ago when his future was also in doubt, the addition of Jack Grealish ruled out any possibility of seeing the great Argentine make the move to England:
“Pep did mention that he thought Lionel was going to stay at Barcelona, so it was never an option. Man City were ready to spend a lot of money last summer to convince Messi to come to the football club.
“To get the best player in the world for free would have been a huge opportunity for City.”