Football

Lionel Messi has agreed contract terms with Manchester City: Report

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has signed a three-season deal with Manchester City, according to British newspaper The Daily Record.

The publication reported yesterday that the Argentine attacker has agreed a 700 million-euro (S$1.13 billion) package with City Football Group, the English Premier League club's holding company.

The deal will make him the highest-paid player in football history.

The agreement will see Messi play for the EPL club for three seasons, before moving to sister side New York City in Major League Soccer in the United States.

The Daily Record quoted a source as saying that the six-time Ballon d'Or winner chose City due to his desire to be reunited with manager Pep Guardiola, who launched his career at Barcelona.

However, the situation is complicated by Messi's contract situation at Barcelona.

His camp insists he has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave on a free transfer - a claim disputed by Barcelona and La Liga, who say the 33-year-old can only leave if a rival club are willing to pay his 700m euro release clause. Messi did not show up on Monday for new coach Ronald Koeman's first training session.

Messi's father Jorge flew in to Barcelona on a private jet yesterday to meet club president Josep Maria Bartomeu in an attempt to find some sort of resolution.

He told reporters that he had not yet spoken to Guardiola.

Asked how he sees Messi's future at Barcelona, he replied: "Difficult, difficult."

The front runner to replace Bartomeu in club elections next year, Victor Font, also said it was "unlikely" Messi would remain at Barcelona.

He told Sky Sports: "It doesn't seem likely, though, and therefore if that's the case, the focus should be on making the transition as smooth as possible."

Meanwhile, Barca midfielder Frenkie de Jong called the situation at the club "a mess".

He told Dutch broadcaster: "Currently, it's a mess at Barcelona, so many strange things happening. It's chaos.

"I haven't talked to him (Messi) about this myself. Nor the club. So I honestly do not know how it is. But, if Messi really leaves, it will be a huge blow to the team and the club."

He added that Messi remains in the Barca players' group chat.

Football