Last updated 1 month ago | By Mirror
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.
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.
“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.
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.