Hebei Fortune’s game plan to capture Leo Messi


Bringing in Javier Mascherano and ‘Pocho’ Lavezzi is part of a strategy the Chinese Super League has to lure the Argentinian

Chinese football’s great dream is for a world-class superstar such as Leo Messi to end up playing in the Super League. Specifically, Hebei Fortune are the team who hope to cause a stir by pulling it off, and are working in a serious way to bring in the Blaugrana ace.

‘Mundo Deportivo’ reports that the signings of Lavezzi and Mascherano by the Qinhuangdao-based outfit was for extra motives, beyond the obvious football ones. Both are part of an investment strategy that aims to persuade Messi to leave his Barcelona comfort zone and feel at home in China, as they understand it is not just a question of money.

The money, though, is not a small matter either. Quite the opposite: last summer they put €100 million on the table to tempt him, but eventually he ended up signing a new deal with the Blaugranas until 2021. The €700-million release clause the Culé management slapped on him is still not enough to put off several Chinese clubs, among them Hebei Fortune, who are prepared to splash out that amount of money to get their hands on a prized asset that would raise the profile of the Chinese Super League a lot higher within world football.

Bringing in Messi is a personal quest the very president of the People’s Republic of China has embarked on. Xi Jingping wants football to become on of the country’s main calling cards with which to present itself on the world stage. Luring Messi to the country to play would thus be one of the Chinese Communist Party General Secretary’s greatest personal achievements.