REPORT: Manchester City Given Encouragement in Pursuit of Lionel Messi

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have been given a boost ahead of a summer move of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, according to James Ducker of The Telegraph.

One of Barcelona’s presidential candidates has claimed that the 33-year-old is “most likely” to leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season.

Manchester City Given Encouragement in Pursuit of Barcelona Star Lionel Messi

Messi ‘Most Likely” to Leave La Liga

The candidate in question is Agusti Benedito. The 56-year-old, who is in the running to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, feels that the club have little chance of keeping hold of Messi.

“Keeping Messi would be the best news for the club but I am not very optimistic,” Benedito told ESPN.

“Given the club’s situation, I think it’s really important that he stays at Barca, with the understanding that he understands the next two years we have in front us [could be difficult].

“He’s been here for 20 years – he’s a Barcelona fan and I think he’s sensitive to the situation.

“He has given us so much in the same way that Barcelona have given him a lot and it’s time for us all to roll up our sleeves.

“I would have liked him to say in his interview the other week that his desire is to stay at the club, but he didn’t and now we have to wait and see. The truth is I am pessimistic.

“Remember that in August he said he wanted to leave after 20 years and now he’s still not cleared up what he wants to do. The most likely outcome I see is that he leaves us in the summer.”

Messi and Manchester City Links

There was plenty of chaos in the summer over whether or not Lionel Messi would remain at Barcelona. Although the Argentine decided to stay in Spain, Manchester City would have been the most likely destination had he chosen to leave.

Firstly, the club is one of a select few that would have the required funds to sign such a player. The fact that City are managed by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola would have also been a key factor in persuading the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to move to England.

However, one other club with the financial firepower is Paris Saint-Germain. New boss Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t ruled out a move for the Argentine.

Messi will wait before making a decision on his next move, but the 33-year-old has previously spoken about wanting to play in the MLS.

According to the report by Ducker, City are currently planning a way that he can spend a few years in England before moving out to the US where City’s owners also own New York City FC.

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