​Barcelona great Lionel Messi could have easily become the best paid player on planet earth had he accepted the offer he received from the Chinese Super league (CSL) officials who contacted him.

It is being reported that CSL clubs went into a bidding war and the highest offer given to Messi was eye-watering £88m-a-year but Messi refused and signed a new Barcelona deal instead.

Messi rejected the £1.7m per week salary and extended his stay at Barcelona until 2021. His salary at Barcelona is £500,000-a-week excluding bonuses.

When the CSL's money spending was at its peak, it was reported by ​Mundo Deportivo that several clubs in the far east were actually in a position to meet Lionel Messi's incredible £622million release clause to prise him away from the Nou Camp.

However, CSL officials have now given up on the thought of luring Messi away from Barcelona. Messi's Argentine colleagues Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano have both moved to China, signing for Hebei China Fortune.