Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi came ‘very close’ to going head-to-head in a £90 million all-star game at Wembley Stadium.
That’s according to information revealed in a new book titled ‘Messi vs Ronaldo’ and relayed by The Sun.
It’s claimed that Ronaldo and Messi would have hand-picked the global starting XIs – and both players reportedly backed the idea.
Per The Sun, the idea was dreamt up in 2014 by ‘City of London wheeler-dealer Robert Bonnier’, during the height of the Messi v Ronaldo rivalry when the two legendary forwards were scoring goals for fun with Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
Bonnier was apparently desperate to establish a biennial game, hosted in Europe, that would see Messi and Ronaldo battle it out alongside some of the world’s greatest players.
The game had a proposed budget just shy of £90 million, including match fees and bonuses, while Wembley is understood to have been chosen as the neutral venue.
Team Messi would wear an Adidas kit, while Team Ronaldo would wear Nike.
The idea was for the game to be played in 2017. It would then be played every two years, outside of World Cup and European Championship years, and resemble a music festival as much as a showpiece friendly.
It’s claimed that bands, laser shows and possibly even a boxing prize fight would also feature at the event.
Why did the Messi vs Ronaldo all-star game not happen?
For several reasons, the world was denied the opportunity of watching Team Messi and Team Ronaldo battle it out.
Getting the agreement of FIFA and UEFA would not have come cheap, while it’s claimed Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wanted an eye-watering £21 million for any of his players to be involved in the fixture.
The idea ultimately failed to materialised due to the number of invested parties and the politics involved in world football’s corridors of power.
However, TV producer David Piper is reported to have said: “An All-Star game is the last great frontier for football. We were very close.”
Will we ever see Team Messi vs Team Ronaldo?
As things stand, there are no plans for a Team Messi vs Team Ronaldo fixture to be played.
But that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen one day, especially as the two global icons edge closer to retirement.