Diego Simeone took advantage of the international break to speak with Argentine media outlet Ole on its 25th birthday with comments carried by Diario AS. The Atletico Madrid coach took time to discuss one of the major stories of last summer in his compatriot Lionel Messi’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, and even revealed that there had been a chance that Atletico could have made a daring move for him.
“I’ll tell you a detail,” he said. “With what happened at Barcelona [in the summer of 2020] we called Luis [Suarez]. With all due respect, I didn’t call Leo, but I did call Luis to ask how Messi was doing and whether he’d be willing or if there was a small chance he’d come to Atletico. But it was something that only lasted three hours, because PSG were already obsessed with signing him.”
Messi enjoyed a stellar summer. He led his beloved Argentina to the Copa America, beating Brazil in the final in Rio de Janeiro and earning his country their first major title since Simeone himself was a player back in 1993. He returned to Barcelona intent on staying at the club, but their financial situation was so dire that they had to allow him to leave for PSG.
Barcelona also allowed Suarez to leave on a free transfer in the summer of 2020, with the Uruguayan heading for the Wanda Metropolitano. He had been deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou but proved his value at Atletico, scoring 21 league goals as they beat Real Madrid and Barcelona to win La Liga.