Details of a reported phone call which took place between Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola that could change the landscape of world football have begun to emerge.
According to The Times, a disgruntled and frustrated Messi is said to have called the City manager last week and informed his former mentor that he was about to inform Barcelona of his decision to quit.
The 33-year-old delivered on his promise to Guardiola by faxing what was effectively a transfer request to the club’s under-fire board earlier this week.
Messi is said to have decided that City represents the only club he wishes to move to and his call with Guardiola ended with the Spaniard telling the Barcelona legend that if he truly wanted to leave, he would inform his own club’s board that he would jump at the chance to sign him.
City boast the financial resources to make the deal happen but are mindful the damage being seen to go public with their interest would cause.
City’s chief executive, Fran Soriano, is in Catalunia, however, and is expected to meet with Messi’s father and agent Jorge in the coming days.
Barcelona, for their part, remain insistent that Messi remains and plays a focal part in the rebuilding project new head coach Ronald Koeman is set to undertake, while they maintain the €700million release clause in the player’s contract remains valid.
Guardiola managed Messi at Barcelona between 2008-12 and their pair enjoyed arguably the most successful periods of their careers together during that period, winning two Champions League titles.