Diego Simeone claims he encouraged Luis Suarez to contact Lionel Messi, a former Barcelona teammate, to see if the forward was interested in joining Atletico Madrid.
Messi departed Barcelona after his contract expired in the summer transfer window, a year after Suarez moved from Camp Nou to the city.
Before the Argentina international’s deal to PSG was finalized, Simeone inquired about his star forward’s interest in joining the Spanish champions.
“I didn’t phone Leo, but I did call Luis,” Simeone told Ole, “to ask him how Messi was doing, if he fancied it, and if there was even a chance of him coming to Atlético.”
“It lasted three hours since PSG had already made up their minds about signing him.
“As a result, the opportunity to collaborate with Messi has never presented itself. He was always at Barca [before joining PSG], I was at Atletico, and we didn’t play for the Argentina national team at the same time.”
The Argentine coach believed that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would be interested in joining Atleti so that they could fight for honours.
“If you ask me where Messi should play, I’ll tell you in a winning team,” he remarked.
“In a squad that understands what it takes to win. What matters is that the squad is set up to win, regardless of what position he plays.
“Don’t think about him; instead, consider the team.”
“No, nothing at all,” Simeone said when asked if he had any direct contact with Messi. “It was like watching a plane go by in the sky.”
Messi joined PSG late in the season and had to wait a few weeks to make his debut.
In late August, he came off the bench for the final 25 minutes of a Ligue 1 match against Rennes.
He has now made five appearances for PSG, scoring one goal in the Champions League against Manchester City in the second half.