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Manchester City Alert Amid Reports That Lionel Messi May Leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Lionel Messi (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Lionel Messi's tiff with Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has opened the possibility of the Argentine star leaving the Catalan club.

Barcelona are going through a rough patch, both on and off the field. Striker Lionel Messi's recent comments this week targeting sporting director Eric Abidal has brought the differences within the star-studded team out in the open.

So much so that there are now rumours that Messi, a name synonymous with Barcelona, may leave Camp Nou this summer.

There is a clause in the 6-time Ballon d'Or winner's contract with Barcelona which says he can leave the club for free in the summer of 2020, Manchester Evening News reported.

It seems like a stretch though because Messi is a one-club man. Well, at least for now.

Almost all big clubs will jump on a chance to sign one of the greatest footballers ever. But English champions Manchester City would have an upper hand if the opportunity arises, the report added.

Why? Because how many clubs can pay £500,000-a-week wage that Messi commands.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is a well-known Messi fan and they conquered all during Pep's time in Barcelona. City also has former Barcelona top men Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, and there is also Sergio Aguero, one of Messi's closest friends in football.

But how did we come to this? It all started with the sacking of Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde. They finally brought in Quique Setién to take over the reins but after the much-public wooing of different candidates, including Ronald Koeman and Xavi Hernandes.

Abidal had said that Valverde was sacked as "lots of players were not satisfied and nor did they work much", Guardian reported.

Messi took to his Instagram account to hit back at Abidal's comments and asked his former teammate to own up to the decisions he made and stop "dirtying" the players.