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Lionel Messi already in contact with Pep Guardiola as Man City lead transfer race for wantaway Barcelona superstar

LIONEL MESSI has spoken with Pep Guardiola as Manchester City wait to see if he wants to join them.

City are prepared to make a move for the Argentine superstar after he told  Barcelona he wants to quit.

Messi, 33,  and Guardiola held a telephone call earlier this week, although there is no suggestion a potential move was discussed.

The pair remain close since their time together at the Nou Camp when they twice won the Champions League.

Top Argentine newspaper La Nacion even claims Messi has told pals: “I’m going to talk to Pep so he can arrange my move to City. The soccer there is spectacular.”

City are desperate to become kings of Europe and Messi is seen as the signing which may finally make that possible.

He is understood to be open to a  City switch, but they are waiting for him to tell them that directly before starting negotiations.

Barca are resigned to losing their star man despite Spanish TV claiming under-fire president Josep Bartomeu would stand aside if Messi agrees to stay.

On Tuesday, Messi told the club  he wanted to leave after nearly two decades with the Catalan giants.

He has grown increasingly frustrated at the team’s recent Champions League failures and his relationship with Bartomeu has deteriorated.

Bartomeu has been a key figure in appointing Ronald Koeman as the new coach and  been a driving force in trying to push Luis Suarez and other  stars out.

Angry fans have been protesting since Messi handed in his transfer request on Tuesday.

Bartomeu, 57, had already brought elections forward from next summer to March 2021 following an emergency board  meeting last week.

But he could now depart his role even earlier.

City remain the front-runners for Messi’s signature — if he can resolve the contractual stand-off with the club

His deal stated he could leave Barcelona for free ten days after the  Champions League final on June 10.

But with the season being extended due to the pandemic, Messi and his lawyers are arguing the clause should still stand.

He is expected to return to training on Monday despite his plea to leave.

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