Lionel Messi urged Barcelona to sign Liverpool forward Sadio Mane before his departure from the Nou Camp, according to reports in Spain.
Mane, who recently won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with Senegal, has been repeatedly linked with the Catalan giants in recent seasons.
Radio station SER Catalunya claim Messi asked Barcelona to sign Mane last summer as one of the conditions for him to remain at the Nou Camp.
The Argentina international wanted the club to sign Mane as part of their wider efforts to build a more competitive squad, following their third-place finish in La Liga the previous season.
However, a move failed to materialise and Messi would later join Paris Saint-Germain when it became clear Barcelona could no longer afford to keep hold of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
According to the report, Barcelona did 'directly' engage with Mane’s representatives.
However, Liverpool ruled out selling the 29-year-old, who is under contract at Anfield until 2023.
Mane is set to return to Merseyside in the coming days after helping Senegal win their first ever AFCON title.
He scored the winning penalty in the shootout against Egypt in Sunday’s final, which ended goalless after extra-time.
The victorious Senegal squad returned home on Monday to celebrate their triumph with a bus parade through Dakar in front of thousands of jubilant supporters.
Speaking after the final, Mane said: “It's the best day of my life and the best trophy of my life.
"I won the Champions League and some [other] trophies but this is the special one for me. This is more important for me.
"I am happy for myself, my people and all of my family."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
- Xavi says ‘doors will be open’ for Lionel Messi to return to Barcelona
- Lionel Messi is 'exempt from certain tasks' at Paris Saint-Germain
- A nine-minute compilation of Lionel Messi being 'the best dribbler of all time' is footballing perfection
- Fans stunned after hearing Lionel Messi speak English 'for the first time'