- Lionel Messi secretly agreed to join Chelsea for $290 million in 2014, however the deal collapsed when his father and agent, Jorge Messi, found out about it.
- Sky Sports' Gianluca Di Marzio's says Chelsea agreed to give Messi an annual wage of $65 million plus 70% of image rights, with the Argentine keen on the deal.
- However it crashed and burned after Messi's father was made aware of the plans by an intermediary who was angry he was squeezed out of the negotiations.
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Lionel Messi secretly agreed to join Chelsea for $290 million in 2014, however the deal collapsed when his father and agent, Jorge Messi, found out about it, Sky Sports' Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed in his new book.
Di Marzio says talks with Chelsea unfolded in January 2014 amid a tax evasion probe by the Spanish government against Messi and his family, with the FC Barcelona forward keen to leave the country.
After speaking with several intermediaries, one of which was former Chelsea player turned agent Deco, a FaceTime call was set up between Messi and Blues boss at the time Jose Mourinho, who subsequently wooed the Argentine into all but signing a contract.
Chelsea agreed to pay Messi's $290 million release clause, as well as give him an annual wage of $65 million plus 70% of image rights – he was to be at Stamford Bridge by the summer.
However, Di Marzio says that the deal then crashed and burned at the last minute after Jorge Messi was made aware of the plans by Deco, who was angry he was squeezed out of the negotiations.
Jorge then called up his son, who denied any knowledge of the deal.
"A soap bubble that hits the floor, bursts and vanishes in thin air, without leaving the slightest mark, just like it never happened," Di Marzio said of the deal's collapse.
"It was like a surprising back-pass when you're about to tap into an empty net. Not very Messi-like, but maybe not that surprising from Leo, knowing the dynamics of a family where the heavy weight of the father is universally recognized."
Messi signed a new deal with Barcelona later that summer and has remained with the club ever since.
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