Messi: PSG, Man City set for herculean battle over ex-Barca star

Messi: PSG, Man City set for herculean battle over ex-Barca star

French giants Paris Saint Germain and English Premier League champions, Manchester City are set to go head-to-head in a bid to secure the signature of Lionel Messi after the diminutive Argentina star left Barcelona on Thursday.

Messi will quit Barcelona after the La Liga club were unable to fulfil the player’s new contract.

A Barcelona club statement said: “Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today; this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).

“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.

“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”

Reports indicate that PSG are already in talks with the Argentina forward.

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Sky Sports reports that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has officially been a free agent since July 1. He had failed to agree terms over a renewal before his previous Barcelona contract expired on June 30. The 34-year-old had been expected to sign a new five-year contract with the Catalan club. This would have seen his salary reduced by 50 per cent.

However, the club are unable to fulfil this offer this offer due to financial and structural obstacles.

Consequently, PSG are hopeful of convincing Messi to move to Paris instead. But Manchester City are also said to be keen on luring the forward. Messi played under current City boss, Pep Guardiola for many trophy-laden years; with this expected to be a factor in swaying the decision City’s way.

Weighing in PSG’s favour is the sentiment that Messi still wants to win trophies. He also wants to be part of a winning project and PSG can offer him all that.

Also reported is his close friendship with Neymar and their desire to play together again; with the French side having a long-standing desire to sign the player which has always seemed almost impossible until now.

Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona.

He came through the club’s academy before going on to score 672 goals in 778 appearances after making his senior debut in 2003.

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