Pep Guardiola has rubbished any suggestion that Manchester City offered Lionel Messi a €100 million signing on fee to leave Barcelona for England.
The Argentine did stall on committing to fresh terms at Camp Nou following the announcement that an agreement had been reached in July.
Barca maintained throughout that their Argentine talisman was going nowhere, despite seeing him edge towards the end of a deal set to expire in 2018.
Eventually, Messi put pen to paper, but not before sparking endless rounds of speculation regarding his future.
Among the more recent reports to emerge is one suggesting that former Barca boss Guardiola pushed his current employers to organise a reunion in Manchester.
Messi has been linked with City for some time, with the Premier League leaders one of few elite clubs who could afford to finance a deal for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
While piecing together those plans, it is claimed that a €100m signing on fee was floated in an effort to tempt a global superstar to the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola, though, has played down the rumours, branding them “not true” when quizzed at a press conference ahead of City’s midweek Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Whether an offer was tabled or not, Messi ultimately decided to stay put and is now tied to Barcelona until 2021.
He has been handsomely rewarded for extending his stay at Camp Nou, but Goal has learned that reports suggesting that he is now earning €350m-a-year before tax are wide of the mark.
It is understood that he is pulling in closer to €22m after tax, with a €700m release clause helping to ensure that nobody will be able to break him from that deal and bring about a repeat of Neymar’s sensational switch from Barca to Paris Saint-Germain over the summer.