For most of Lionel Messi’s career, the thought of him leaving Barcelona has been unthinkable.
The Blaugrana’s era of European dominance may be over, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has never seriously looked as though he were interested in a way out of the Nou Camp.
The Argentine’s future is still uncertain, however, because despite reports earlier this summer that he had signed a new deal, he is yet to officially put pen to paper on an extension.
Should he become a free agent in the summer, Barca could lose him for nothing, which means they could be forced to consider cashing in on their prize asset in January.
It’s this situation that has awakened fresh interest from Manchester City, with the Sun now reporting that the 30-year-old has started to consider the possibility of linking up with former boss Pep Guardiola because he has serious doubts about Barca’s long-term vision.
The sale of Neymar, which Barca were powerless to prevent because of the Brazilian’s release clause, and the appointment of Ernesto Valverde to succeed Luis Enrique began that thought process, and political upheaval in Catalonia has not helped matters.
While there could be consequences for Barcelona as a club if the region secedes from Spain, it’s thought Messi does not feel comfortable with having to align himself to either side when he is not from Spain or Catalonia.
That said, City acknowledge that any potential deal is still a long way off and expect him to sign new terms with his current employers.
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