Manchester City have yet to make any offers to Lionel Messi, with the Barcelona star to decide his future in the summer.
Spokespeople for both the Premier League-leaders and Messi have confirmed to Sky Sports News that no offers have been made by City to the player, neither last summer nor since, contrary to reports in a British newspaper on Friday.
Messi’s spokesperson has also reiterated that the Argentina forward will choose whether to leave or stay at the end of the season, having announced his intention to do so in an interview in December.
Messi has resettled at the Nou Camp this season since demanding to be released from his contract last summer, when Pep Guardiola and City were considered the frontrunners to sign him.
Short of entering into a legal dispute over a contract clause that would have allowed him a free transfer, Messi stayed but is now free to negotiate with other clubs outside Spain, with Paris Saint-Germain also interested, having entered into the last six months of his current deal.
However, Messi is keen to find out the result of next month’s presidential election and what the winner will offer to him both in financial and sporting incentives, before making a call on the next step in his career.
The 33-year-old has said publicly he would like to play in Major League Soccer before he retires.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s current contract – signed in 2017 – was leaked last month by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, claiming its worth to total £492m (€555m).
It went on to claim it was the most expensive ever awarded to an athlete, describing it as having “ruined” Barcelona by causing their current financial crisis. Barcelona since denied the leak came from the club’s board and threatened legal action against the paper.
In December, interim president Carlos Tusquets also claimed the club should have sold Messi last summer when he wanted to leave. “Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would’ve been desirable,” he said.
Lionel Messi 360: The view from all sides as Man City, Paris Saint-Germain, MLS clubs prepare to lure Barcelona star
Lionel Messi is now free to speak to clubs outside of Spain about finally leaving Barcelona in the summer but – despite last year’s transfer request – does he still want to leave?
His future is shrouded in uncertainty with every option on the table, so Sky Sports News has pulled together this comprehensive analysis from all sides of the equation.
Will he be reunited with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City? Will he play for compatriot Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain? Will he fly straight to the United States to play in MLS? Or will he finish his career as a one-club man and stay with Barcelona?