Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has confirmed he tried to sign fellow countryman Lionel Messi from Barcelona in the off-season.
Messi shocked the football community after opting to turn down a new contract with the Blaugrana in favour of signing for Paris St-Germain ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
However, the Argentine legend would have ended up at Atletico if Simeone had his way.
Simeone says he sounded out striker Luis Suarez, who remains a close friend of Messi, to ask for his assistance in securing a transfer.
“When what happened at Barcelona happened, we called Luis,” Simeone told Argentinian newspaper Diario Ole.
“I didn’t call Leo. But I called Luis to say ‘look, how is he? Would he be keen? Is there the slightest possibility… imagining that he could come to Atletico Madrid.”
However, any hopes of securing the services of Messi were quickly dashed as PSG pulled out all the stops to clinch his signature, much to the disappointment of Simeone.
Simeone explained: “It lasted about three hours.
“Obviously Paris Saint-Germain were obsessed with that signing. The truth is that [coaching Messi] hasn’t happened because he’s been at Barcelona, we’ve been at Atletico, and while he’s been with the national team I haven’t been there.
“It’s like an aeroplane that you see in the sky and say ‘there it goes…'”