SAO PAULO, June 11 Sky-high property prices in Brazil have claimed a new victim in Argentina forward Lionel Messi, the world's highest-paid footballer.
Messi scrapped plans to rent a mansion for his family outside the city of Belo Horizonte for the duration of the World Cup, according to the online edition of O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.
His new contract with Spanish club Barcelona will reportedly earn the four-times World Player of the Year a net annual salary of $27 million.
Messi and his staff thought the 150,000 reais ($67,600) rent for a month-long stay in the 21,500-square foot mansion was expensive, Estado said. In addition to proposing a lower rent, Messi's entourage pressed the landlord to put up an enclosure for privacy purposes.
A source with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed some of the terms, adding that the talks broke down in early May.
Messi's staff made an offer that "didn't please me. The deal didn't go through," Paulo Nassif, the mansion's owner, told Estado.
Efforts to reach Nassif and Messi's father Jorge Messi, who runs all his business affairs, were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the Argentine team declined to comment.
The mansion has seven suites, 13 restrooms and 86,000 square feet of land next to a lagoon. Messi decided instead to rent a house in Rio de Janeiro for his family, Estado said.
The Argentine squad is based for the World Cup in Belo Horizonte, Brazil's third-largest city.
Real estate prices and rents have soared in Brazil in recent years, with prices in major cities like Rio and Sao Paulo often in the same league as New York, London and Paris. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, editing by Ed Osmond)