Lionel Messi has reportedly told Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola he wants to move to the Etihad – and believes he can with the Ballon d’Or for the next two years if he does so.
Messi has told Barcelona in no uncertain terms that he wants out of the Nou Camp after almost two decades at the club.
After plundering 634 goals in 731 games – establishing himself as arguably the greatest to ever kick a ball – the Argentine now wants a new challenge.
The final straw for Messi seemed to be the 8-2 humbling by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, a result which saw manager Quique Setien sacked and replaced with Ronald Koeman.
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But Messi still wants to leave and City are the frontrunners to secure his services, setting up a reunion with Guardiola after the duo won 14 trophies together at the Nou Camp between 2008 and 2012.
Messi and Guardiola have spoken since the 33-year-old officially told Barca he wants to leave, with Spanish pundit Cristobal Soria apparently leaking the details to El Chiringuito.
He said: “Last Tuesday, once Messi had decided to leave Barcelona, his first thought was Manchester City and to speak to Guardiola.
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“The call happened, and Messi said to Pep: ‘I want to win the next two Ballon d’Or awards, and I can only do that with you.’
“This is the killer phrase that Messi used.”