Manchester City are expected to be one of the clubs in the running to sign Lionel Messi after the Argentina international expressed his desire to leave the Nou Camp this summer.
Messi has informed the Spanish giants that he wants to depart and the PA news agency understands the 33-year-old sent a fax to the club on Tuesday asking to have his contract terminated.
Reports claim the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has a clause in his contract which, if activated, would allow him to walk away from Barcelona for free and this is likely to spark a scramble for the playmaker’s signature.
City are likely to be linked with a move for Messi, with a move to the Etihad bringing a reunion with former boss Pep Guardiola.
While coaching Messi at Barcelona, Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies during a four-year spell in charge from 2008.
Guardiola mainly needs to strengthen his defence after seeing City lose their Premier League title to Liverpool, trailing the new champions by a huge 18 points, but a move for Messi may prove too hard to resist.
Neighbours Manchester United could also be interested, having already indicated this summer that they are willing to spend big through their pursuit of Jadon Sancho.
United exceeded expectations by finishing third this season but they over-relied on Bruno Fernandes for special moments of extra flair behind the strikers and Messi would certainly ease the burden on the Portuguese.
Another possible destination could be beaten Champions League finalists Paris St Germain. The French champions have previously spent big on Messi’s former Barcelona team-mate Neymar and France international Kylian Mbappe – the two most expensive players in the world.
It remains to be seen how Barcelona will respond to Messi’s request, with the club trying to rebuild following the appointment of Ronald Koeman as head coach.
Messi was part of the Barcelona side that was thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final.
He came through the ranks at the Nou Camp having joined the famed La Masia academy and has won 33 major trophies with the club.
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