Ex-CEO: City made accidental Messi bid

August 19, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

Manchester City accidentally made a bid for Barcelona's Lionel Messi -- for a measly $47 million -- in 2008, former chief executive Garry Cook revealed in a new book.

Cook, who left City last September, talked about the mix-up in "The Manchester City Years" by Gary James.

The offer for Messi was made following a breakdown in telephone communication between club officials as Sheikh Mansour completed his takeover of City in August 2008.

"(An executive) made a comment like: 'It's all getting messy,'" Cook explained. "Via the telephones and other communication lines, this somehow translated into: 'Get Messi.'

"An offer was made for Lionel Messi of about 30 million pounds. Needless to say, it was rejected."

Messi went on to be named FIFA's top player three straight years from 2009-2011.

City instead signed Brazilian playmaker Robinho from Real Madrid for 32 million pounds ($50.2 million).

ESPNFC's Mike Whalley contributed to this report.