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Man City launched audacious bid for Lionel Messi the day Sheikh Mansour completed his takeover

Josh Lawless

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Man City launched audacious bid for Lionel Messi the day Sheikh Mansour completed his takeover

Manchester City launched an audacious bid for eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi back in 2008, it has been claimed.

On the final day of the transfer window, City were taken over by Sheikh Mansour and the Abu Dhabi United Group in a move that completely changed the fortunes of the club.

All of a sudden, City, who were a mid-table Premier League side at the time, had seemingly unlimited transfer funds.

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And it sparked a chaotic deadline day as City were linked with just about every big-name player.

Robinho signed from Real Madrid in a shock £32 million switch, having looked set to go to Chelsea for most of the window.

Mark Hughes had only just been appointed City manager earlier in the summer, bringing in the likes of Jo, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Tal Ben Haim and Vincent Kompany before a dramatic turn of events ensued.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty
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Speaking on William Hill and Footy Accumulators’ No Tippy Tappy Football, They just asked me, ‘who do you want?’. They had a load of bids out for pretty much every top player in the world.

"They had just put all of these bids out to see if anyone would actually come back, but people forget that at that time, Man City were a mid-table Premier League club – mid-table to bottom if we’re honest. There weren’t that many takers because players were thinking, ‘Man City, who?’.

“They had all these bids out and nothing was happening, then all of a sudden they had a little nibble from Robinho and Real Madrid.

“We had to try to make it happen and I knew the Real Madrid coach at the time, Bernd Schuster, so I was on the phone to him asking if there was any chance of letting Robinho speak to us."

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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

City snapped up Pablo Zabaleta for around £6 million from Espanyol and that turned out to be one of the club's best ever deals.

But they also went after another Argentine playing in Catalonia, though an offer from Messi didn't bare fruit.

He added: “It was a crazy day, there were bids going out for Lionel Messi and all sorts! We finally managed to get Robinho over the line which was a hell of a statement, and the rest is history.

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"There’s probably a grain of truth in the rumour that Robinho thought he was actually signing for Manchester United. He certainly didn’t recognise me when he turned up, he was probably expecting to see Sir Alex Ferguson at the airport! He was probably a bit disappointed to say the least.”

City also tried their luck at hijacking Dimitar Berbatov's transfer to rivals United but he had his heart set on the switch to Old Trafford.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Manchester City, Lionel Messi

Josh Lawless
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