This club wouldn’t sign Lionel Messi even if he played for free

Mehmet Seyit Ozkan, chairman of Turkish second division side Altinordu, says Lionel Messi couldn’t sign for his club — not even if he came on a free.

“Even if Messi wants to play for Altinordu for free, I would definitely reject him,” Ozkan told the club website. ”I believe in our young Turkish players. I’m giving chances to them.”

Altinordu currently have no foreign players in their team. Their pride and joy is their youth academy, and they’re shooting to build a team comprised solely of the products of their own system. Right now they don’t even have any players over the age of 21 in the squad.

That rules Messi out on every single level.

It’s of no concern to Ozkan though. He’s concentrated on building up Altinordu on their own terms. ”Our target is to be in the Super League and competing in European cups in 2023 which is our 100th year.”

It’s an ambitious but realistic goal, and the club’s policy is admirable. But if Leo Messi actually popped up at Altinordu’s doorstep offering to play for free, would they really turn him down?