Messi contacts Guardiola over sensational Man City move

Thursday, August 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Lionel Messi.

Barcelona, Wednesday

Lionel Messi has reportedly spoken to Pep Guardiola over the prospect of joining Manchester City this summer, but Barcelona believe Manchester United have started negotiations with the Argentine’s agent. 

It was revealed on Tuesday that Barca legend Messi, who has spent his entire career at the Nou Camp, has told the club he wants to move on to pastures new having become tired of the current regime. 

That has started the rumour mill on where his next destination will be and according to Spanish outlet Radio Catalunya, Messi has already contacted former boss Guardiola about a move to the Etihad. 

Messi and Guardiola won two Champions League trophies and three LaLiga titles in a period where the Argentine forward became the best player in the world. 

However, a separate report by Spanish website SPORT insists that Manchester Untied and PSG have already pushed to look to sign the 33-year-old. 

Yesterday it also emerged that Messi decided to hand in a transfer request after he was told ‘your privileges in the squad are over’ by new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman.

The 33-year-old had been considering his future at the Nou Camp after a trophyless season ended with a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, which prompted the sacking of coach Quique Setien.

Koeman was quickly installed as Setién’s replacement, after which Messi reportedly told the Dutchman that he saw himself ‘more out of the club than in it’ having cut short his holiday to meet the Dutchman.

Argentine news outlet Diario Olé claims at a meeting Koeman told Messi: ‘Your privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team. I’m going to be inflexible, you have to think about the team.’

The frank exchange reportedly convinced Messi that now is the time for him to leave the club.

The dramatic move piled the pressure on Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Fans were heard shouting ‘Bartomeu resign!’ outside the club’s headquarters but the president on Tuesday night insisted he is not considering resigning.

Messi communicated to Barcelona via fax on Tuesday that he wants to leave the club on a free transfer this summer.

The extraordinary development potentially puts the 33-year-old within reach of a dramatic move to Manchester City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola.

Manchester United, PSG, Inter Milan and Juventus are also showing early interest.

The Argentine journalist close to the player, Veronica Brunati, broke the story on Tuesday and it was subsequently confirmed by sources close to the Catalan club.

Messi’s bold move was immediately praised by Carles Puyol who tweeted: ‘Respect and admiration Leo. All my support, amigo.’ 

Puyol’s tweet was then applauded in a reply from Luis Suarez.

Messi’s discontent is nothing new but the possibility of a free transfer is.

The suggestion is that Messi believes a clause in his contract allowing him to walk away for nothing is still valid because the season ended in August and not May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barcelona say the deadline for Messi to leave for free passed in June and will contest the player’s argument that the deadline changed when the season was rearranged after lockdown.

Messi is supposed to report for the new season on Sunday for a scheduled coronavirus test but has no intention of meeting up with new coach Ronald Koeman or attending Monday’s subsequent first training session.

The first of those three options is likely to be their first reaction.

But there is a growing belief around the club that at least part of the club’s board want Messi to leave.

The former Barcelona president Joan Laporta accused Bartomeu of wanting to sell Messi in a tweet published on Tuesday. - Dailymail

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