Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with Manchester City in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest deals in football history.
Messi dropped a bombshell last week by telling Barcelona he wants to leave the club he joined as a 13-year-old boy.
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Manchester City has been touted as the Argentine maestro's most likely destination and a new report says a mega-money dal has now been agreed between the Premier League club and the 33-year-old.
The Daily Record reports that Messi has agreed to a five-year deal worth €700 million (A $1.1 billion) with City Football Group (CFG) — the company that owns Manchester City as well as MLS club New York City and the A-League's Melbourne City.
The report states that the astronomical deal will see Messi play for the Premier League giants for three seasons, before moving to New York to potentially finish his career in the MLS for the remaining two years of the deal.
News of Messi's agreement with the Premier League giants has understandably sent the football world into a frenzy on social media.
Lionel Messi has agreed financial terms worth €700million over the course of five years with City Football Group.
- €16,025-per-hour pic.twitter.com/Mr8f6l4uKl
— Ayekooto (@DeeOneAyekooto) September 2, 2020
I can’t believe ANY Club would agree to such an outrageous contract, imagine over City players reaction
Lionel Messi ‘agrees Man City contract worth £623MILLION’ as his dad flies to Barcelona for showdown transfer talks
@SkySportsNews @Lbc https://t.co/Q4ldbhbpgQ
— stavros (@Greekboy8) September 2, 2020
Leo Messi has agreed to a move to Man City worth 700 million dollars for 5 years! Only Messi could get away with such outrageous deal 😁
— Houston's XFactor (@messi0103) September 2, 2020
Refuse to believe Man City just paid Messi 623 mil pounds I know it's the goat we're discussing about but for that amount it's just outrageous
— Kyumin📍🇸🇬 (@arvormus) September 2, 2020
Messi going to NYC in three years would be outrageous. He’d win the MLS on his own at 36. Can’t see him departing that early. https://t.co/z0bJFhZTCD
— Cian (@Cianaf) September 1, 2020
Messi offered a £2.4m a week deal to join City? pic.twitter.com/CmoWtQcvT6
— JC McLean (@JCMSpurs) September 2, 2020
Lionel Messi has agreed a deal worth €700m with the City Football Group, according to the Daily Record💪💪🏿💪💪💪💪💪💪💪🏿
— 7 OR 10 (@parshurampdl1) September 2, 2020
Taking the same path as Beckham..
Lionel Messi saga: Barcelona star agrees five-year contract with Man City worth €700m | GiveMeSport https://t.co/SRjFpbMQz8
— Christina (@DeThomasisC) September 2, 2020
The mercurial forward believes a clause in his contract that allows him to leave on a free transfer has been activated, though the club and La Liga say his €700 million ($A 1.1 billion) release clause remains the only valid way to terminate his deal, which runs until next June.
Messi has failed to report for pre-season training this week, making his potential move to Manchester City seem even more likely.
Before any deal is completed, however, Messi’s get-out clause situation will need to be sorted or a fee agreed between Barcelona and Manchester, before he completes a mega-money move to England to reunite with manager Pep Guardiola.
Messi’s Barcelona exit edging closer
One of Barcelona's presidential candidates, Victor Font, all but confirmed that the Catalan club had given up hopes of being able to hang onto the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Font last week stated that the only way Messi might remain at Camp Nou is if president Josep Maria Bartomeu - the man he hopes to replace as president - resigns.
He now feels too much water has gone under the bridge to avoid losing Messi.
Asked if it is too late for Messi to change his mind, Font told Sky Sports: "That's the way it seems. This is the best football club in the world and we will do everything to ensure that the association with Messi stays."
When quizzed if he sees any way that Barca can convince him to perform an about-turn, he added: "That's the hope, right? Until it's over there is always hope. And therefore I really hope the decision can be changed.
"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. And the ties between Messi and Barcelona that go very deep, remain there, so we can ensure somehow, the relationship continues in the future."
He added: "Being the best player in the history of the sport carries a lot of weight. You see it with [Diego] Maradona, with Pele, with Johan Cruyff, these people carry a lot of value to the organisation they belong to.
"That's why we need to ensure that happens."
The new La Liga season begins on September 11 but Barcelona's first match won't be until September 27 or 28 against Villarreal - with the Catalans being given an extra break after their European exploits last campaign.