Lionel Messi turned down the chance to become by far and away the best-paid player on the planet last summer when the Chinese Super League failed in an attempt to coax him from Barcelona.
According to Mundo Deportivo, officials from the big-spending division extended an offer in the region of €100million-a-year (£88m) to the Argentine, a wage that would have seen him take home £1.7m every week.
But despite the incredible financial package put forward, Messi chose to stay with the Spanish club and put pen to paper on a deal that extended his stay at the Nou Camp until 2021 last November.
That new deal saw him become one of the best-paid players on the planet regardless with a basic wage of £500,000 a week before loyalty bonuses and image rights.
ALSO READ: Sanchez’ Agent Bashes Spanish Authorities Over ‘Unfair’ Verdict
However, the CSL have not given up their dream of convincing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to see out the twilight days of his career in the Far East.
The same report suggests several clubs are financially strong enough to meet his €700m (£622m) release clause and still pay a mind-boggling package.
But with Messi having already turned down £88m a year, however, CSL officials understand that no amount of money is likely to convince him and they are now drawing up a plan to win his affections in other ways.
Bringing Messi’s international team-mates Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano to the division was seen as a good first step in what is likely to be a long courtship.
Mascherano joined Hebei China Fortune from Barcelona last month while Lavezzi has been at the same club since 2016 after a big-money move from Paris Saint-Germain.