Lionel Messi 'Rejected' Bumper Manchester City Offer Before Signing Barcelona Extension

Lionel Messi rejected an offer from Manchester City that included a staggering £88 million signing bonus before committing his future to Barcelona, according to reports.

Messi, 30, finally inked a new contract at Barcelona last month worth £500,000-a-week that will keep him at the Nou Camp until 2021, which ended growing rumors that he was considering leaving.

But Manchester City made a last-ditch attempt to bring the Argentine international to the Etihad Stadium with a lucrative deal dangled by owner Sheikh Mansour, according to Marca.

The offer, the Spanish publication says, included a salary of around £850,000-a-week and a signing bonus of 100 million euros.

The report from Marca suggests that the Premier League leader made contact with Messi without requesting permission from the club, which potentially could lead to punishment. Messi's original deal was due to expire in the summer which would have allowed City to speak to the 30-year-old in January.

City reportedly moved early and believed it had the conditions in place at the Etihad Stadium to attract Messi. The head coach Pep Guardiola built his Barcelona team around Messi, with the duo winning 14 trophies together in four seasons including two Champions League titles from 2008 through 2012.

Barcelona Forward Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou stadium, Barcelona, October 18. Messi finally signed a new contract at Barcelona last month. LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty

Guardiola also works alongside Ferran Soriano, chief executive at Manchester City and former vice president at Barcelona, and Txiki Begiristain, who became City's director of football after holding the same position at the Camp Nou.

This may have been enough to tempt Guardiola but Messi could not be persuaded to trade the leader of La Liga for the Premier League front-runner. Barcelona is five points ahead of second-place Valencia and eight ahead of Real Madrid, while Guardiola's City leads Manchester United by eight points.

That could all change over December, however, as City makes the short journey to Old Trafford on Sunday (December 10) to face Jose Mourinho's United in the Manchester derby. Guardiola's team then travels to Swansea and hosts Tottenham at the Etihad in the space of four days.

Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian midfielder who has been one of the main beneficiaries of Guardiola's coaching at City, has spoken of the danger of the festive fixtures in England.

"It gives us a good advantage for the moment but we have a big week with United, Swansea and then Tottenham to play in the league," De Bruyne said, as quoted by The Daily Telegraph. "If you lose two games out of three and [United] win everything, they are there."