• Messi spoke to Guardiola about a possible move to Man City
  • Messi's release clause at Barca is around $826 million
  • Messi still has a year left in his current deal

FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi reportedly spoke to Pep Guardiola last week over a possible move to Manchester City.

Messi dropped a bombshell Tuesday when he informed Barcelona that he wants to leave Nou Camp this summer despite having a contract until 2021. The 33-year-old forward informed the club about his decision through Burofax, a service used in Spain to urgently ship a document that needs third-party proof. The Catalans responded to Messi via the same service asking him to stay at the club he joined almost 20 years ago as a teenager.

These developments are the result of Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich at the Champions League, a trophy, the side has not won since 2015. The result led to the sacking of Barcelona head coach Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal. While Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has repeatedly ensured Messi will end his career at Barcelona, the player has made his intentions straight that he wants to leave ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Messi, who made his first-team debut with Barcelona in 2004, believes he has a clause in his current deal that will allow him to leave the club as a free agent this summer. However, Barcelona maintain that the clause expired in June.

It was earlier reported that Man City were figuring out a way they could sign Messi without breaching any more Financial Fair Play rules that almost got suspended from next season’s Champions League.

It is believed that Man City have been trying to sign Messi for some years now, but they were aware that the move was near impossible. However, the club is more optimistic following their manager Guardiola’s recent conversation with Messi, according to ESPN.

Messi and Guardiola struck a great bond during the Spaniard’s run as Barcelona’s manager between 2008 and 2012, where he led the side to as many as 14 trophies including two Champions League titles.

The ESPN report revealed that a few days after Barcelona suffered the 8-2 loss at the Champions League, Guardiola, in a telephonic conversation, offered Messi a project in England, provided he decided to leave Barcelona. The report further disclosed that before the Bayern Munich disaster, Man City’s senior officials spoke to Messi’s representatives some time ago as they were aware of the Argentinean plans of leaving the club.

Lionel Messi and Barcelona were left humiliated by an 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals
Lionel Messi and Barcelona were left humiliated by an 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals POOL / Manu Fernandez

If Messi does leave Barcelona this summer, Man CIty will have to wait and see if they can bring him to Etihad for free or they’ll have to deal with the player’s hefty $826 million release clause.