Jose Mourinho persuaded Lionel Messi to sign for Chelsea in 2014 after holding a “box office” face-to-face call over FaceTime, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
The legendary Portuguese manager returned to the Blues in 2013 for his second stint and would win the Premier League title and the League Cup before his sacking in 2015.
But now Di Marzio claims Mourinho’s return to Chelsea almost led to Messi’s arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2014.
In Di Marzio’s Grand Hotel Calciomercato book, the 46-year-old Italian reporter called the Mourinho-Messi saga the “biggest unknown tale in the transfer market.”
According to Sky Sports, Chelsea were prepared to activate the Barcelona superstar’s then-release clause of €250m. And Di Marzio says that the Blues were ready to splash out a staggering £50m salary per season for Messi.
Mourinho stepped up and worked his charm when he spoke to the 33-year-old Argentine forward on the video call.
According to Di Marzio, the ‘Special One’ broke the ice and said: “How you doing, champ?
“They just told me about your wish: well, you don’t know how many sleepless nights I have had, trying to find a way to stop you.
“I’ve tried to employ countless strategies it would all work until you would find the winning dribble and score. You’re the best, full stop.”
Mourinho then surprised many with a ‘cunning’ and ‘astute manoeuvre’ by insisting that Messi should remain at Barcelona.
However, the former Manchester United and Inter Milan manager’s comment paid off with his brilliant twist.
The ‘Special One’ said: “So, you know what I’ll tell you? That you
need to stay exactly where you are! “Don’t leave, they’ll build you a statue there, stay in Barcelona. That is the best possible place for a number one like you.
“However… If one morning you wake up, you have your breakfast at the training ground but the coffee doesn’t taste the same, the sky suddenly turns grey, you don’t like your car anymore, you feel sad on your way home, you’re not happy, your family is not happy, well, in that dark and gloomy moment of your life… then yes, you will have to open the gate of happiness again. And behind that gate, you will find me, Jose Mourinho, waiting for you!”
Messi apparently laughed at Mourinho’s aforementioned comment and was ‘already crazy about his new suitor.’
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had even agreed to personal terms, but Di Marzio claims that the “involvement of his father and agent Jorge and former teammate Deco […] made the deal collapse like a ‘soap bubble that bursts and vanishes in thin air.'”