Lionel Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain after parting ways with Barcelona during the summer transfer window.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has revealed that Los Rojiblancos tried to sign the forward, even asking the Argentine’s close friend Luis Suarez to inquire on their behalf. He was quoted as saying:
“I’ll tell you a detail. When what happened now at Barcelona happened, we called Luis [Suarez], with all due respect. I didn’t call Leo, but I did call Luis, and I asked him to find out how he was, what he thought, if there was the slightest possibility, imagining that he could come to Atlético de Madrid.”
“But that lasted three hours. Paris Saint-Germain were obviously obsessed with the signing.”
The 51-year-old continued:
“The truth is that we didn’t have the chance to meet because he was always at Barcelona, and we were always at Atletico de Madrid, and neither were we at the national team.”
It came as a huge surprise to the football world when Barcelona announced that they had parted ways with Lionel Messi during the summer transfer window. Reports suggested both parties were willing to continue their association, but the Blaugrana couldn’t make it happen due to financial constraints.
As a result, Lionel Messi switched to Paris Saint-Germain, where he bagged a lucrative two-year contract. The Ligue 1 giants beat a host of clubs to the attacker’s signature, including Manchester City, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.
Could Lionel Messi have left Barcelona for Atletico Madrid?
We will never know whether Atletico Madrid could have actually signed Lionel Messi. The club stood a chance mainly because they had the Argentine’s best friend, Luis Suarez, in their ranks. Unlike Barcelona, Los Rojiblancos are not in an economic mess and might’ve been able to afford the forward’s wages.
However, it is obvious that Lionel Messi wouldn’t have liked to join any La Liga side to avoid facing his former club frequently. The 34-year-old still has Barcelona in his heart, and a switch to a direct rival would make little sense considering what he means to the Barca faithful.