Real Madrid have attempted mission impossible in trying to persuade Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona for their arch rivals, according to reports in Spain.

Spanish radio station Cadena Cope has reported that Real president Florentino Perez has made three unsuccessful approaches to sign the world's best player since 2011. 

The report – which should probably be treated with extreme scepticism – claims Madrid made their first approach five years ago, when it was feared that Cristiano Ronaldo would leave Spain for a mega money offer from Manchester City:

"Real Madrid used an intermediary to arrange this meeting who wasn’t a club employee but was someone very close to Florentino Perez. The response was rapid and clear: ‘Thanks for the interest, but Leo isn’t moving.'"

It's claimed that Madrid made another attempt in 2013 and a final approach last year, with Messi's future at Barca up in the air over tax evasion charges.

These reports come hot on the heels of rumours that Los Blancos have been meeting with Barca's Brazilian sensation Neymar in a bid to bring him to the Bernabeu.

[via SPORT]