Manchester City wanted to sign Lionel Messi this summer and were willing to meet the player's £200m buy-out clause, according to the Daily Mail.
Oil-rich City were prepared to smash the transfer record to lure the Argentine star to the Etihad, but Messi opted to sign a contract extension with Barcelona which ruled out any potential move.
City have continued to flex their financial muscle and have made several sponsorship deals recently that have boosted their spending power.
The fact that they could have afforded such a staggering move is a warning sign to their Premier League rivals - that even though they won the title last year, they are still more than willing to spend big to get the players they want.
However, Messi is also regarded by many as one of the world's most loyal players, and it is unlikely he will ever leave the Nou Camp.
His new contract was worth an estimated £16.3million and he is said to be satisfied with how he has been treated at Barcelona.
City were willing to out bid the Catalan giants but they would have also been hampered by Financial Fair Play.
Stage is set
Messi will be hoping he can elevate himself to the iconic status of Diego Maradona by guiding Argentina to victory in tonight's World Cup final against Germany at the Maracana.
The 27-year old has scored four goals in the tournament and he will be hoping to add to that tally as Argentina bid to become world champions for the first time since 1986.
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