It has emerged that adidas were prepared to pay half of Lionel Messi's £210m buy-out clause in the summer in a deal that could have seen the Barcelona forward move to Chelsea.
Barcelona based sports paper Mundo Deportivo claim the arrangement was mooted over the summer, with the German sportswear brand prepared to stump up £105m if it would ensure the four-time Ballon d'Or winner would move to one of their major European clubs, which as well as the Blues, also includes Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Mundo Deportivo claim adidas saw an opportunity to prise him away from Barcelona, who are sponsored by Nike, however the deal came to nothing.
It's reported that Messi's representatives were made aware of the proposal, who in turn informed Barcelona. However the Argentina international, who joined the club as a 13-year-old and is their leading all-time goalscorer, wanted to remain loyal and remain at the Nou Camp.
While a move to Real Madrid would have been fraught with difficulty due to the animosity between Spain's two leading clubs, a switch to Chelsea would have had its problems.
Owner Roman Abramovich may have been in a position to pay the other half of the £210m buy-out clause, but Messi did not enjoy a good relationship with Jose Mourinho when the Special One worked in Spain.
A link-up with Pep Guardiola would perhaps have been palatable, but the Bayern Munich manager did not leave Barcelona on the best terms with Messi.