Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) sporting director Leonardo Araujo has admitted that the Ligue 1 champions were tempted to make a move for Lionel Messi over the summer after they found out he wanted to leave the Camp Nou. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner sent shockwaves around the football world when he declared his intention to leave that club on a free transfer a couple of weeks ago. Barcelona, however, remained adamant that Messi wouldn’t leave the club unless any suitor was willing to match his staggering €700 million release clause.
Although multiple rumours linked Lionel Messi to Manchester City, PSG sporting director Leonardo Araujo revealed that the French giants were tempted to make a move for the Barcelona captain. While speaking to Telefoot, Leonardo was asked whether PSG were monitoring Messi’s situation over the past few weeks and he replied by comparing David Beckham’s move to the French capital towards the end of his career, “Yes, we were tempted to make a move. We asked ourselves, ‘Is this really possible?’ We had previously signed David Beckham in 2013 but Messi now, we don’t know”, he said.
PSG sporting director Leonardo Araújo called Jorge Messi to enquire about his son's situation and the French club's interest. The response: Lionel Messi has already chosen to engage with #ManCity.— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) August 28, 2020
[@FlorentTorchut via @lequipe]
At the end of all the drama, PSG failed to sign Messi and also bid goodbye to Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva as their contracts at the Parc des Princes expired this summer. Only last week, reports claimed that Messi had agreed a five-year deal worth €700m (£621m) with City Football Group that would see him play at Man City and New York City FC. Messi was under the impression that he was free to speak with other clubs. However, it was later confirmed that Messi’s €700m release clause at Barcelona is still active.
In an interview with Goal over the weekend, Lionel Messi spilt the beans on his failed Barcelona exit. Messi’s contract with the Catalan giants expires in June 2021 and the forward confirmed that he will give his all for the club next term. Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer also revealed that he didn’t want to take the club to court.
Messi’s decision to leave the club stemmed from the growing chaos at Barcelona. The issues with the club board, management and disastrous results appeared to take a toll and a pound of flesh from Messi. The Argentine also disclosed that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu failed to keep his end of the promise which inevitably led to him staying put at the Camp Nou.