Diego Simeone has revealed that Atletico Madrid attempted to sign Lionel Messi last summer.
The Argentine coach looked into the possibility of recruiting Messi following his Barcelona exit.
Simeone admits he spoke to Luis Suarez, a close friend of Messi from their time together at the Nou Camp, to know whether a deal could be struck to keep the Argentine superstar in La Liga.
“When what happened at Barcelona happened, we called Luis,” Simeone told Argentinian newspaper Diario Ole on Tuesday.
“I didn’t call Leo. But I called Luis to say ‘look, how is he? Would he be keen? Is there the slightest possibility… imagining that he could come to Atletico Madrid.”
But the Uruguayan quickly informed Simeone that talks had progressed rapidly with PSG and Atletico had left it too late to convince Messi.
“It lasted about three hours,” he said. “Obviously Paris Saint-Germain were obsessed with that signing. The truth is that [coaching Messi] hasn’t happened because he’s been at Barcelona, we’ve been at Atletico, and while he’s been with the national team I haven’t been there.”
“It’s like an aeroplane that you see in the sky and say ‘there it goes…’”
Simeone added his views on where Messi should play, underlining his own commitment to winning above everything else.
“If you ask me where Messi should play: in a team that wants to win,” Simeone said. “He should play in a team that knows what to do to win.
“It doesn’t matter where. In a team that wants to win and is prepared to win. Don’t worry about him. Worry about the team.”