World’s most important footballer Lionel Messi was reportedly close to joining Chelsea from Barcelona academy in 2004.

Italian transfer expert, Di Marzio revealed in his new book, Grand Hotel Calciomercato that the Argentine star almost joined Chelsea in 2004 after a long conversation with Jose Mourinho.

“In 2004 Messi was very close to moving to Chelsea because he wanted to play with Mourinho. There was a long conversation between them. This was the first time he wanted to leave Barcelona,” Di wrote in Grand Hotel Calciomercato as quoted by JOE.

Messi also came close to joining Manchester City from Barcelona before the end of the Premier League’s international transfer window but his release clause meant City could not complete the transfer.

If his relationship with administrators at the La Liga club doesn’t improve, Messi could finally leave Barcelona when his current deal expires next summer.