Lionel Messi news: Argentine ace accused of holding talks with Manchester City to use it as ransom for Barca contract negotiations
What's the story?
Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles has claimed that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi once held transfer discussions with Manchester City to use as leverage in contract negotiations with the Catalan giants.
In case you didn't know...
Since making his first-team debut in 2004, Messi has gone on to scale great heights in football, establishing himself as a legend not only in Barcelona but the entire world.
The 31-year-old has 603 goals in 686 appearances for Barcelona, winning ten LaLiga titles, four Champions League trophies, six Copa del Reys, eight Spanish Super Cups, and three UEFA Super Cups.
This season, the Argentine talisman has 51 goals in all competitions to his name, winning both the Pichichi trophy and the European Golden Shoe for his goal-scoring exploits.
The Barcelona captain is also an overwhelming favorite to win a record sixth Ballon d'Or at the end of the year, having previously won five, a record he shares with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The heart of the matter
Speaking on The Transfer Window podcast, Castles claimed that Messi once used discussions with Manchester City as leverage in contract negotiations with Barcelona.
He said, "[Barcelona’s] wages to revenue are high, but they’ve managed to increase their revenues quite consistently in recent years and they’ve managed to juggle having high wages throughout that period."
"Giving big new contracts to people like Lionel Messi, who held them to ransom by allowing his contract to go down to its final year, holding discussions with Manchester City and basically getting an offer from Manchester City, an open cheque book offer from Manchester City to come to the club."
"He used that as leverage to go to Barcelona and say ‘I will sign a new contract, but these are the terms that you will pay me.'"
"Which were a record salary for a player plus a massive signing-on fee and essentially said ‘there is no room for negotiation here. You either give me the money I want, or I go as a free agent at the end of the season to one of your rivals.'"
"And Barcelona caved on that, which is one of the big reasons why their salaries went up so much in the last year."
Manchester City may have been interested in securing the services of Messi, but whether a loyalist like him would need to resort to such backhand tactics for a better contract is highly unlikely.