Barcelona's Lionel Messi was £222m target for Real Madrid in 2013

Football superstar and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi was reportedly a ‘£222m target’ for Real Madrid in 2013, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

Apparently, Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez wanted to pair Messi with his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo upfront – and was willing to offer the Argentine forward an eight-year contract worth £384,000 per week.

The £222m fee would have matched the release clause is Messi’s contract, meaning the club would have been contractually obliged to let their talisman talk to Los Blancos.

It remains unclear why Madrid did not put their plan into action – though it could have something to do with their pursuit of then-Tottenham forward Gareth Bale, who eventually joined the Spanish giants for £86m.

David Utteridge

Lover of all things film, fan-fiction and football (the British kind!), David is a writer with a unique voice and a wide-range of interests. Current editor-in-chief at Meta, having previously written for SportPulse, IndieICE and Reel World Movies.