LIONEL MESSI REPORTEDLY TOLD BARCELONA HE WANTED MANCHESTER CITY MOVE.
Lionel Messi reportedly told Barcelona he wanted to leave the club for Manchester City in the summer of 2016 before being talked out of the move by teammate Luiz Suarez.
Messi told Barca about his wish to leave the Camp Nou and join City after quitting international football following Argentina’s second Copa America final defeat in a row in June 2016.
It was also around the time the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was convicted for tax fraud, and he was prepared to publicly announce he wanted to leave Spain, with City open to paying €150 million for him, €100 million less than his release clause.
The situation changed on July 18 when Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and vice-president Jordi Mestre met with Messi’s father, Jorge, and Suarez “spoke at length” with his fellow Blaugrana forward.
The attraction to Messi, 29, of joining City is obvious. Not only do they have the financial resources to have met even the most extravagant wage demands, but they are now managed by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola, who took over at the club last summer.
Messi and Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues together, along with numerous other trophies, between 2008 and 2012.
The Argentinian who has returned to the international fold since announcing his retirement—could well have propelled City to the Premier League title in 2016-17. Instead they finished third, 15 points behind champions Chelsea.
Messi enjoyed another stellar season at the Camp Nou in individual terms as he netted a combined 53 goals in La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey, per.
Barca finished the campaign with only the Copa del Rey to show for it, but Messi seemingly now remains committed to the club and will play a key role next term as the Catalan giants go after La Liga and Champions League success under new manager Ernesto Valverde.
Maluki Bernard / writer