Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona this summer and is “likely” to move to Manchester City, according to presidential candidate Toni Freixa.
There had been speculation that the Argentine, who stunned the footballing world by handing in a transfer request at the club last week, might change his mind if current president Josip Maria Bartomeu quit his role, but according to one of the men gunning to take the position, that will not be the case.
Pep Guardiola’s side are presently leading the chase for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who believes he has a clause in his contract eligible to allow him to leave on a free transfer, despite La Liga ruling otherwise.
Man City face competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Inter for the superstar’s signature – the race for which is set to hot up in light of the Freixa’s words and the news that Messi did not show for training on Monday.
“As I have heard from several sides, the decision the player has come to is one that has matured over several years and is irrevocable. I don’t believe that there is any going back,” he told Goal.
Freixa explained that the 33-year-old’s desire to leave is driven by the fact that Barcelona have fallen from their pedestal as one of Europe’s leading sides.