Real Madrid have reportedly tried on three separate occasions to complete a sensational transfer of Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
According to Cadena COPE (h/t Sport), Los Blancos president Florentino Perez has made all of the approaches since 2011, none of which have come to fruition.
It’s reported that the first came when Real were concerned about Cristiano Ronaldo potentially leaving the club for Manchester City, the second in the summer 2013 with more question marks about the Portuguese’s future and the third “little more than a year ago.”
“The same procedure, the same characters and the same response: 'Thanks, but no,'" the article finishes.
Although many sides have suffered to the brilliance of Messi down the years, the diminutive forward seems to relish playing against Barcelona’s great rivals. Here are some of his standout moments in Clasico matches:
Messi is not only an icon of the sport, but a deity for the people of Catalonia. His influence on this side since bursting on to the scene has been unrelentingly positive, helping Barcelona dominate on the domestic and European stage.
His brilliance in possession, ability in front of goal and penchant for popping up when it matters has given the Camp Nou crowd so many excellent moments, often at the expense of their great rivals.
As 101 Great Goals noted last month after Messi’s 500th game for the Blaugrana, the frequency with which he’s won trophies is remarkable:
Tonight, Leo Messi will play his 500th game for Barcelona. His stats are simply incredible. A trophy every 19 games pic.twitter.com/SW0uZ2LL3V— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) December 30, 2015
The pursuits were clearly fanciful thinking on the part of Real Madrid. Although Perez pulled off one of the most shocking moves in history when he brought in Luis Figo from Barcelona in 2000, a move for Messi would have been an even bigger surprise.
Granted, Real are one of the biggest clubs in the world and will naturally chase the best players in the world. But Messi is arguably Barcelona’s greatest-ever player, with everything at the club geared towards him—both on and off the pitch. It’d be a remarkable decision on the part of the Blaugrana to even consider accepting an offer.
Figo, the best player in the world in 2000, was tempted to Real as part of their Galacticos project and the prospect of joining what many expected to be the dominant force in world football over the next decade.
As we can see here, the Barcelona fans did not let the winger forget about what they considered to be bald treachery on his return to the club, either:
But Messi is currently part of the game’s best outfit. Alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez, Barcelona have swept aside all before them, scoring masses of goals, playing thrilling football and lifting plenty of trophies. Why would he consider trading that in for a side that has been in the Blaugrana’s slipstream for the majority of the past decade?
You have to admire the ambition of Perez if he has sought to get this deal done. But any more time spent potentially plotting a move for Messi is time wasted on behalf of the Santiago Bernabeu chief.