Chelsea are weighing up a sensational swoop for Lionel Messi, according to reports.
Messi and his father, Jorge, were convicted of tax fraud on Wednesday and ordered to pay close to £3million in fines.
They were also handed 21-month prison sentences but will not serve any time in jail as Spanish law dictates that a sentence under two years can be served under probation.
Messi, who is appealing the verdict, is said to be unhappy with the support shown to him during the court case by Barcelona and feels victimised by the Spanish authorities.
There are rumours he could now look to leave Spain – and Chelsea are set to be at the front of the queue to sign the five-time world footballer of the year if he does become available.
According to The Sun, Messi’s father, who represents his superstar son, has already met with the Premier League side’s owner Roman Abramovich to discuss a potential move to Stamford Bridge.
The meeting is claimed to have taken place in the last ten days on Abramovich’s superyacht, the Eclipse [below].
Any fee for the 29-year-old would smash the £100million mark but that would not deter mega-rich Abramovich, who has spent well over £1bn on the club during his time at the helm.
Chelsea are now waiting to see whether Messi will push to leave Barcelona and, if so, will be in pole position to land the Argentina legend.
Manchester City have also been linked with a move for Messi but Pep Guardiola said last week he fully expects him to remain at the Nou Camp for the rest of his career.