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Revealed: How Inter Milan tried to sign Messi before his first Ballon d'Or

Last updated 1 month ago | By Mirror

In this Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 file photo, Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain [COURTESY]

Inter Milan "went all out" to sign Lionel Messi back in 2008 according to the club's former technical director Marco Branca.

The Argentine was just 21 and 12 months away from winning the first of his six Ballon d'Ors.

SEE ALSO: Inter Milan sponsor vows to help fund Messi transfer

The Serie A club offered Messi a more lucrative deal than the one he was on at the Nou Camp.

But he ended up staying put and is now recognised as one of, if not the, greatest football of all time.

SEE ALSO: Lionel Messi calls off negotiations on Barcelona contract renewal

“Yes, we moved for him but Leo did not want to leave Barcelona,” Branca told Libero . “He was very grateful to the club. Money does not always come first.”

Branca worked at the San Siro for 12 years from 2002 and helped sign the likes of Diego Milito, Samuel Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder.

SEE ALSO: Zidane wants Messi to stay in Spain despite Barcelona exit claims

All three of whom played in Inter's treble winning side under Jose Mourinho in 2010.

The Italians overcame Lionel Messi and Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League before beating Bayern Munich in Madrid.

One Zlatan Ibrahimovic had swapped Inter for Barcelona that summer and replaced Samuel Eto'o who moved the other way.

And Branca has revealed that their recruitment targeted players who had been deemed surplus to requirements at other clubs.

“We sign angry players because they were rejected by their previous clubs,” he said.

“Ibra told us that he no longer had the serenity necessary to continue. We listened to him and looked for the ideal solution for everyone. And then we had Eto’o.”

Inter could yet do more business with the Catalan giants this summer with Lauturo Martinez high on their shortlist.

“I’ve read that Messi wants him to sign with Barca, but I don’t know the situation and so I can’t offer an opinion,” Branca added.