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Lionel Messi transfer news LIVE: Barcelona ‘will sell for £200m’, ‘Guardiola phone call’, Bartomeu refuses to resign

LIONEL MESSI has dropped the bombshell of all bombshells by sending an official fax demanding to leave Barcelona.

We have all the latest news and gossip from around the world following the shocking request, with clubs queuing up to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Follow ALL of the latest transfer gossip, news and updates below…

 

MORNING FOOTBALL FANS

Where else to begin, than with Lionel Messi.

The Argentine dropped a huge bombshell on FC Barcelona last night, when he confirmed that he fully intends to leave the club this summer.

Messi, 33, is believed to have been furious following their 8-2 humbling by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

And with new boss Ronald Koeman telling him in their first meeting that “the privileges are over”, Messi has decided to try and force his way out.

While Barca have been insisting on receiving his £631million release clause in full should he leave, the player himself believes he can go for nothing.

That is because of a clause in his contract that allows him to cancel his deal, if he chooses to exercise it by the end of June.

And as the season didn’t finish on time, Messi believes that the clause is still valid – and decided to make his intentions clear yesterday.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the early frontrunners to pull off the sensational deal – while Rio Ferdinand believes that Chelsea are trying to swoop in.

Frank Lampard and Co have already been busy, with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech having arrived in West London – and the spending isn’t ending there.

Reports claim that Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr are on the way – and that a £50m deal for Ben Chilwell is “done”.

BARC-ING MAD

The Athletic reports that sources have told them Messi has spoken to Pep Guardiola.

Their report adds that Man City would love to have him at the club but the biggest stumbling block would be the club’s relationship with Barcelona.

Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano all arrived from Barca and effectively will not push to buy Messi until the Catalans are willing to sell.

The article states: “The position of Guardiola, sporting director Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano is effectively this: they are willing to make it happen, but can’t be seen to want to make it happen.

“They do not want to be the bad guys at the Nou Camp.

“This may be crucial right now, because it certainly appears that the blame would lay at the door of Bartomeu, as Messi could justifiably claim he has been left with no choice given the upheaval at the Nou Camp, and he has been backed up by Puyol and Suarez on Twitter.”

MANC ON A MISSION

Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler claims Messi has decided he wants to play for Man City next season.

The Esporte Interativo journalist, who first broke the story that Messi wanted to leave the club this summer, also said the departure will hurt him, but he understands it’s the end of a cycle.

Bechler commented: “Lionel Messi has decided where he wants to play from next season, and it’s at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

“Messi likes Manchester City’s style of play which compliments his game well.”

KEEP YOUR GUARD UP

Guillem Balague has countered suggestions that Lionel Messi has held talks with Pep Guardiola or has a move lined up.

The former Sky Sports reporter says his understanding is that Messi hasn’t spoken to the Man City manager at all and moreover has taken the decision to leave without knowing where he will end up.

Balague also suggests that not even the dismissal of president Josep Maria Bartomeu will convince Messi to stay, commenting that he wants to leave and it’s not a matter of negotiation.

My understanding is that Leo Messi and Guardiola haven’t spoken. There has been plenty of interest in Messi but he has taken this step without having confirmed anything with anyone yet. And yes, that he really really wants to leave. This is not a negotiation or a power battle

— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 26, 2020

CITY SLICKER

Lionel Messi took the decision to leave Barcelona days ago, according to El Chiringuito.

Reporter Quim Domenech adds that Messi’s father has spoken to various clubs in Europe to see who would be most keen to take him on, with Man City being the club with whom he has had most contact.

He adds that Messi is keen to join Man City and has spoken with both mentor Pep Guardiola and close friend Sergio Aguero.

🚨¡INFORMACIÓN de @quimdomenech!🚨

💣”MESSI tiene CONVERSACIONES AVANZADAS con el Manchester CITY”.

💣”Ya ha HABLADO con GUARDIOLA”. #ChiringuitoMessi pic.twitter.com/Y9qkwIDBu1

— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) August 25, 2020

ICYMI

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are the only two suitors that would be able to afford a transfer fee for Lionel Messi, reports claim.

The Argentine, 33, rocked the football world by making it clear that he intends to walk out on Barcelona this summer.

But should he be incorrect in his assertion that he can go for free, his options could be more limited.

Spanish outlet Sport claim that Inter Milan could be in the mix, however, should they only need to fork out for his wages after a free transfer.

‘COMPLETELY FALSE’

For Spanish-speaking readers, El Chiringuito report that the Barcelona board infuriated Messi by actively attempting to tarnish his image after the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich.

Most notably, they say, the directors leaked false rumours that Messi had ordered Quique Setien to change his line-up for the match in Lisbon.

Messi was also said to have been infuriated by the fact that Ronald Koeman’s call to Luis Suarez to tell him he would no longer be required took just one minute and 52 seconds.

🚨INFORMACIÓN de @cristobalsoria🚨

📌”La DIRECTIVA FILTRÓ que Messi había cambiado la alineación de Lisboa y es FALSO”.

📌”La llamada de KOEMAN a SUÁREZ duró 1 minuto y 52 segundos”.#ChiringuitoMessi pic.twitter.com/EQ9hRzPeD4

— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) August 25, 2020

PRICE FIGHTER

Barcelona have named their price for Lionel Messi, according to reports in Spain.

And it’s exactly the same fee as PSG paid for Neymar!

RAC Radio report the that a fee of 222 million euros (£200m) will be required to force Barca’s hand.

Their report adds that Barcelona are now resigned to losing Messi.

However they will not let him go for free, nor will they demand his £631m release clause is met in full.

KOEM BACK

Reports from Argentina earlier today stated that Ronald Koeman had infuriated Messi by telling him he would “withdraw his privileges”.

However, Guillem Balage claims that is not the case and that Koeman actually wanted to build the team around him.

Rather, the Barcelona board had leaked a slanted account of Messi’s conversation with Koeman in the hope of goading him into asking to leave.

Balague wrote for BBC: “I am convinced it was the intention of the club at the highest level to leak part of the story, especially the bit in which he was admitting to Koeman that he felt closer to leaving than staying.

“That extract would help turn the fans against Messi so they can eventually release him and use that money (his salary is over 50m euros net – double if taxes are counted) to renew the squad.

“If you believe he is the most important player, then you build a team around him, which is what Koeman wants to do. You don’t start a campaign to get rid of him.”

ABSOLUTELY DISLOYAL

Earlier in the evening, Juanma Castano, who appears to be among the biggest Messi critics attacked the player in a tweet.

The Partidazo de Cope presenter wrote: “It is compatible to think that Bartomeu’s management is disastrous and to consider that Messi’s behavior is absolutely disloyal to the club and its fans.”

Es compatible pensar que la gestión de Bartomeu es nefasta y considerar que el comportamiento de Messi es absolutamente desleal con el club y su afición.

— Juanma Castaño (@juanmacastano) August 25, 2020

‘THEY HAVE FED A MONSTER’

The majority opinion appears to be that the Barcelona board are to blame for Messi’s decision. But Juanma Castano, presenter of Spanish radio show El Partidazo de Cope, has a very different view.

He said: “It seems very disloyal to slam this door at this time. I cannot defend this attitude. That the Barcelona fans have found out because Messi has sent a burofax to Barça is incredible.

“Is a leader leaving? For me no. For me, Messi shows that today he is not a leader. Messi’s tyranny is leaving.

“Messi has not been a leader, he has imposed his rules in the dressing room And there are people in this dressing room who have suffered with Messi.

“Bartomeu deserves it because he has governed Barça being afraid of Messi. They have fed a monster and it has eaten him. “

MESSI-AH

Lionel Messi does not crave more power at Barcelona but merely wants to leave, reports claim.

Following the Argentine’s shock transfer request earlier today, it has been suggested by some that he would consider his position should club president Jose Maria Bartomeu tender his resignation.

But according to the BBC’s Guillem Balague, Messi just wants to leave – and could refuse to attend pre-season sparking a messy legal dispute.

GOING NOWHERE

Under-fire Barcelona president Bartomeu will NOT be resigning, according to reports.

Sources in Argentina and the Middle East had suggested he was considering leaving and calling early elections to convince Messi to stay.

However, Barcelona-based SPORT say he has contacted them and stated he will remain in his position.

INDEPEND-ENCE DECLARATION

Unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi is not short of suitors after making his intention to leave Barcelona clear.

And Argentine club Independiente have now staked their claim to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, simply tweeting: “Think about it, Leo.”

The Buenos Aires-based side are actually Sergio Aguero’s boyhood club, while Messi grew up supporting Newell’s Old Boys of Rosario.

Pensalo, Leo.

📷 @mlaksman#TodoRojo 🔴 pic.twitter.com/PbLC5RIEkt

— C. A. Independiente (@Independiente) August 25, 2020

LEGAL GUARD-IAN

Lionel Messi has contacted Pep Guardiola over a move to Manchester City, reports claim.

The Argentine, 33, has rocked the football world by outlining his intention to leave Barcelona this summer.

And according to TV3, he called his former manager Guardiola three days ago to ask whether City would be able to pull of a deal for him.

A FINE MESS

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are the only two suitors that would be able to afford a transfer fee for Lionel Messi, reports claim.

The Argentine, 33, rocked the football world by making it clear that he intends to walk out on Barcelona this summer.

But should he be incorrect in his assertion that he can go for free, his options could be more limited.

Spanish outlet Sport claim that Inter Milan could be in the mix, however, should they only need to fork out for his wages after a free transfer.

‘RESPECT AND ADMIRATION’

Barcelona legend Carles Puyol has tweeted his support to former team-mate Lionel Messi amid his decision to leave Camp Nou.

The shaggy-haired former defender posted, in Spanish: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.”

Respeto y admiración, Leo. Todo mi apoyo, amigo.

— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) August 25, 2020

ICYMI – KOE FOOL

Ronald Koeman’s meeting with Lionel Messi is believed to be the thing that tipped the Argentine over the edge at Barcelona.

The Dutchman is reported to have said that “the privileges are over” and that he would be “be inflexible, it’s necessary to think of the team.”

Angered by this apparent belittling of his status within the squad, Messi has now decided to leave Camp Nou for good.

Koeman apparently told Messi that the “privileges were over.” For Messi that was too much, leading to his decision to leave.

BAR NONE

FC Barcelona club president Jose Maria Bartomeu is considering handing in his resignation amid Lionel Messi’s transfer request, according to BeinSports correspondent Achraf Ben Ayad.

He tweeted: “Bartomeu is seriously considering resigning after Messi requested to leave.”

بارتوميو يفكر جديًا في تقديم استقالته بعد طلب ميسي الرحيل 🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨

— Achraf Ben Ayad (@Benayadachraf) August 25, 2020

LAP OF DISHONOUR

Former FC Barcelona club president Joan Laporta has called on current chief Jose Maria Bartomeu to resign in the wake of Lionel Messi’s stunning transfer request.

He tweeted: “Bartomeu and his Board must resign immediately.

They have been undermining the morale of messi to save themselves from the economic and sporting turmoil they have created.

If they resigned there would still be hope that Messi would stay at bara

LION IN WAIT?

Lionel Messi’s public transfer request could be a ploy to force the exit of Barcelona club president Jose Maria Bartomeu, according to New York Times reporter Tariq Panja.

He tweeted: “Hardly an extreme thought, but feel Messi power move is likely to lead to exit of Bartomeu and board and Messi eventually staying put. (Ready for this tweet didn’t age well comments down the road of course!)”

Hardly an extreme thought, but feel Messi power move is likely to lead to exit of Bartomeu and board and Messi eventually staying put. (Ready for this tweet didn’t agent well comments down the road of course!)

— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) August 25, 2020

SAMP-THING LIKE THAT

Serie A side Sampdoria have cheekily thrown their name into the mix to sign Lionel Messi on Twitter.

Our No.🔟 jersey was free last time we checked…#Messi pic.twitter.com/pVbksLjrFu

— Sampdoria English 😷 (@sampdoria_en) August 25, 2020

KOE FOOL

Ronald Koeman’s meeting with Lionel Messi is believed to be the thing that tipped the Argentine over the edge at Barcelona.

The Dutchman is reported to have said that “the privileges are over” and that he would be “be inflexible, it’s necessary to think of the team.”

Angered by this apparent belittling of his status within the squad, Messi has now decided to leave Camp Nou for good.

Koeman apparently told Messi that the “privileges were over.” For Messi that was too much, leading to his decision to leave.

Reactions: https://t.co/vV17v996Vd pic.twitter.com/inPepT5Q9n

— AS English (@English_AS) August 25, 2020

PRESIDENTIAL TREATMENT

Even the President of the Government of Catalunya has weighed in on Lionel Messi’s seemingly imminent Barcelona departure.

Quim Torra i Pla tweeted: “Catalonia will always be your home.

“Thank you so much for all this time of happiness and extraordinary football.

“We have been lucky enough to share a few years of our lives with the best player in the world. And a noble athlete We will never forget you. Leo Messi, St. George’s Cross.”

Catalunya serà sempre casa teva. Moltes gràcies per tots aquest temps de felicitat i d’un futbol extraordinari. Hem tingut la sort de compartir uns anys de les nostres vides amb el millor jugador del món. I un noble esportista No t’oblidarem mai. Leo Messi, Creu de Sant Jordi. pic.twitter.com/Ojev577MoE

— Quim Torra i Pla (@QuimTorraiPla) August 25, 2020

ON GUARD

It’s clear that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is still enamoured with Lionel Messi.

And following the Argentine’s shock admission that he wants to leave Barcelona a free transfer, perhaps the pair could be reunited…

🗣 Pep Guardiola on Lionel Messi… pic.twitter.com/XcaPcbuDx5

— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) August 25, 2020

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