Manchester City have firmly refuted claims they offered to triple Lionel Messi’s salary in an attempt to lure him from Barcelona in 2016.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was quoted in Spanish media on Saturday as naming Barcelona superstar Messi as the player he most regretted failing to sign.
The reports included suggestions that Al Mubarak, who has been in the role since 2008, had revealed he asked Pep Guardiola to discuss the compelling financial offer with his former player.
But the Premier League champions have rejected the reports.
“We deny the veracity of these quotes,” a City spokesperson said.
City have often been linked with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who has spent his entire career at Camp Nou.
The 31-year-old is Barca’s record goalscorer and succeeded the departed Andres Iniesta as captain this season.