Last week it was reported by Yahoo Sports that Manchester City are ready to pay the €300m release clause of Lionel Messi.
There were indications that a move could happen, after Barcelona lost the Spanish Super Cup, 5-1 to Real Madrid. Just one day after the match, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, the owner of City Football Group, hinted that his team could soon be involved in the most expensive transfer in football history.
The statement wouldn’t have caused too much rumours if Barcelona weren’t to hesitate issuing an answer regarding Messi’s contract. After the Super Cup, the general manager of Barcelona, Pep Segura, said for the Catalan TV station, Esport3: “In principle, the things are clear. Still, it’s better to ask the president about Messi’s contract, he knows better these things.”
After Pep Segura refused to disclose details about Messi’s contractual situation, ESPN contacted Jordi Mestre, Barcelona’s vice-president. Mestre said: “Messi will sign soon. Everything looks fine, we just need to find a date to sign the papers.” Five days have passed since this statement and Messi is yet to have signed the new deal with the Catalans. Jordi Mestre is the one that said about Neymar that he is “200% sure that the Brazilian will stay at Barcelona”, just one week before the historical transfer.
Messi has also poured gas on fire, by following Manchester City on Instagram – an insignificant detail apparently that has caused worrying among Barcelona fans.
However, Manchester City have now responded to the rumours. The Citizens have issued a statement to Sport.es, saying: “Manchester City has no intention to pay the release clause of Leo Messi.”