Lionel Messi seriously considered leaving Barcelona in the summer and Manchester City were widely reported as his favourite destination.
The Citizens were said to have shown interest in the 33-year-old, but he couldn’t come to an agreement with the La Liga club when sorting out his contract.
A clause in the contract allowed Messi to leave the Catalan club on a free transfer, but the last date to exercise it was in June. Since the season was delayed due to the coronavirus crisis, the Argentine was of the belief the clause was still valid after the last season was concluded in August.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner finally decided to stay at Barcelona and is now in his final year of contract at the Camp Nou.
Josep Maria Bartomeu stepped down as the Spanish club’s president in October and days before he insisted he didn’t even want to talk about the South American’s exit in the last window.
Journalist Lluis Mascaro has an opinion piece in Sport and he states Bartomeu has given ‘two gifts’ to Barcelona and their supporters before he left the club.
One of them was securing Marc-André ter Stegen’s long-term future by offering him a contract until 2025 and the other was to stop Messi from ‘escaping to Manchester City’ in the summer.
Having failed to sign the Barcelona superstar in the last window, City can still sign Messi on a free transfer next summer, if he decides against signing an extension with the Blaugrana.
On October 29th, El Confidencial reported City retain an interest in Messi and their chances of signing him will depend on Sergio Agüero and Pep Guardiola’s continuity at the Etihad beyond this season.