Lionel Messi could have signed for Real Madrid on a free transfer, according to the Punto Pelota programme.
Journalist Alfredo Duro claims it happened in 2005 when the Argentine was just days away from celebrating his 18th birthday, having already reached agreement to sign for Barcelona.
However, the report claims there were a number of discrepancies according to Spanish League rules, with the arrangement not having been rubber-stamped by Messi’s father and his legal representative.
Thus, the player, with documents in hand, was free to negotiate with any other team and it is claimed his family, unhappy with how the business had been conducted, decided to offer him to Madrid.
Nonetheless, Duro’s account maintains that Los Blancos’ President Florentino Perez hesitated as he did not want to create conflict with his Barcelona counterpart, at the time Joan Laporta.
The delay in making a decision was then seized upon by Barca to await Messi’s coming of age and offer him a valid contract, with events since then having passed into football history