Barcelona star Lionel Messi set tongues wagging after being spotted in London on Sunday night, but the world's best player was not negotiating a potential move away from the Camp Nou.
The Argentina international and his girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo were, in fact, on a double date with Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas and his partner Daniella Semaan.
This is according to the Daily Mail, who have published snaps of Messi, Fabregas and their partners outside the upmarket Colony Club Casino Bar in Mayfair.
Another Messi hat-trick
Messi, with Antonella, flew to London hours after scoring a hat-trick in Barcelona's emphatic 6-1 La Liga victory over Rayo Vallecano.
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner netted his treble inside 12 second-half minutes to take him level with Cristiano Ronaldo for 30 league goals this season.
For the sixth season in succession, the prolific Messi has now scored over 40 goals in all competitions and has broken a whole host of goalscoring records over recent years.
Messi back to his brilliant best
Since missing out on the 2014 Ballon d'Or to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi has returned to his scintillating best and is the current favourite to secure the next Ballon d'Or award in January 2016.
The South American wizard, considered by some to be the greatest player of all time, appears to be happy at Barcelona following speculation from earlier this season - while Barcelona are obviously desperate to keep their star man at the Camp Nou - but the club's international sporting director Ariedo Braida said this weekend that a future move to the Premier League cannot be ruled out.
"I believe it's very difficult that Messi will leave Barca but at times in football strange things happen," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "Now with these clubs that have so much money like (Manchester) City, certain amounts don't seem to have a value.
"In football things happen that appear impossible but I hope he will remain."
Messi, who joined Barcelona as a teenager, has stated on numerous occasions that he hopes to spend his entire career with the Catalan giants - but tends to add the caveat that, certainly in football, nobody can predict the future.
Chelsea would 'need to sell' three stars to sign Messi
Because of the astronomical figures involved, only a couple of clubs in world football could afford to sign Messi.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently claimed that for Chelsea to sign Messi they would need to sell £150 million worth of talent - and named Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Fabregas as the players who would be forced to make way.
It seems unlikely that Messi would agree to join Chelsea if his good friend Fabregas were to move away from Stamford Bridge.
The Argentina captain has had several run-ins with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho over the years, stemming back to 2006, when the Portuguese coach accused Messi of diving in a Champions League match at the Bridge.
Chelsea fans: which players would you sell in order to make way for Lionel Messi? Have your say in the comments below!
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