Real Madrid have reportedly tried three times to tempt Lionel Messi from Barcelona, starting in 2011.
Sport cites Cadena COPE as saying the first approach from Los Blancos came in 2011, when they feared Cristiano Ronaldo was going to accept a proposal from Manchester City.
The desire was to replace one star with another and a move for Messi was initiated, using an intermediary to get in touch with someone on Messi’s camp.
Madrid’s interest was greeted with a ‘swift and decisive’ rejection, it’s said.
The summer of 2013 saw the next round of interest, again when there was a question mark over Ronaldo’s continued presence at Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo had delayed signing a new contract and there was interest in him from the Premier League, while Madrid had also lost out on Neymar to Barca.
A senior executive from Madrid is said to have engineered a meeting with a Messi representative but had the same response as in 2011.
And a little more than a year ago that same executive tried again. There was a meeting and another rejection.
The tale is presented by Sport in the context of reported interest from Madrid in Neymar, with the suggestion that it is the Brazilian’s camp pushing interest from Santiago Bernabeu to pressure Barca as they negotiate a new contract.