When Barcelona implemented a release clause in Lionel Messi's contract, it was more of a formality than an insurance policy. It has long been thought foolish to try and prise Messi away from the Catalan giants and with a price tag of £205 million, few have tempted to flirt with the notion before.
But enter the riches of Russian football. The Sun reports that a Russian club, believed to be Anzhi Makhachkala, has triggered the clause, also offering the Argentine a salary of £24 million after tax. That's £460,000 a week! Barca were forced to accept the offer and await Messi's response, although it was a swift 'no' from the 25-year-old.
Rafa Benitez could be forgiven for getting excited about the prospect of getting the nod for a full-time gig at Chelsea. With six wins from their last seven outings, the Blues are beginning to forget their early season woes and Benitez could soon reap the rewards of that form, according to the Sun. It is reported that Roman Abramovich has been impressed with Rafa's influence and is ready to offer the Spaniard a permanent role at the end of the season. Benitez joined Chelsea on a temporary basis for the remainder of the season.
The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson would be a monumental moment for Manchester United, but the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho could go a long way to soothing the pain for fans. According to the Daily Mirror, the Real Madrid duo could be tempted by a move to the Premier League, with Ronaldo keen to return to Old Trafford.
Although the Portugal international has two years remaining on his contract in Spain, it would be much more financially viable for Real to cash in on their superstar and avoid him departing on a free deal.
Paris saint-Germain could stand in the way of United's ambitious wish, with the Les Parisiens reportedly launching a bid for the pair.
GettyImagesLionel Messi has signalled his love for Barcelona and its fans by securing his future at the club