03:27 GMT28 November 2020
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    In August, Messi asked Barcelona to terminate his contract with immediate effect. But the Catalan club claimed that Messi's request came too late in the season and it refused to let him leave without paying a €700 million release clause. The Argentine international subsequently agreed to stay at Barca until June 2021.

    Manchester City are stepping up their bid to lure Lionel Messi away from Barcelona in what would be one of the biggest transfers of all time, the Spanish sports daily Marca claims. 

    ​The Argentine was linked with a move by the press to the English Premier League and former manager Pep Guardiola this summer after he told the club he wanted to depart.

    The 33-year-old has now just eight months left on his deal at the Nou Camp and can speak to other clubs in the winter transfer window. This means that Man City could offer a lucrative pre-contract deal to Messi in January ahead of a free transfer next summer. Messi is believed to currently earn around €565,000 per week.

    There had been some speculation that Barcelona could hang on to Messi following Josep Maria Bartomeu’s resignation as club president at the end of October.

    Messi had been fiercely critical of Bartomeu and blamed the outgoing president for denying him a move from the club in the summer.

    Barcelona’s elections for Bartomeu’s successor is scheduled for March, after which Messi’ future could become clearer.

    City’s chief operating officer, Omar Berrada, has previously said that Messi is still being considered at the Etihad Stadium after missing out on him in the summer. “I think any club in the world would like to explore the possibility of him their team,” he said. "He's probably an exception to the potential investments that we'd do.”

    City fans seemed ready to welcome the superstar to England.

    FC Barcelona, Manchester City, Lionel Messi
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