According to The Times, a disgruntled and frustrated Messi is said to have called the City manager last week and informed his former mentor that he was about to inform Barcelona of his decision to quit.
The 33-year-old delivered on his promise to Guardiola by faxing what was effectively a transfer request to the club’s under-fire board earlier this week.
Messi is said to have decided that City represents the only club he wishes to move to and his call with Guardiola ended with the Spaniard telling the Barcelona legend that if he truly wanted to leave, he would inform his own club’s board that he would jump at the chance to sign him.
Messi’s dissatisfaction at Barcelona, the club at which he has spent his entire professional career, culminated in the recent 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in an historic Champions League quarter final defeat.
His unhappiness, however, dates back much further. The Argentina international felt the club’s board did not do enough to sign Neymar from PSG last summer and was unhappy with the way Ernesto Valverde, the former head coach, was turfed out of his job in January and never saw eye-to-eye with his replacement Quique Setien.
Messi’s relationship with the board has deteriorated, apparently beyond on repair and although under-fire president Josep Bartomeu has indicated he will step aside should the club’s talisman captain reconsider his future, even a step of that magnitude is unlikely to force a rethink from the six-times Ballon d’Or winner.
Barcelona, for their part, remain insistent that Messi remains and plays a focal part in the rebuilding project new head coach Ronald Koeman is set to undertake, while they maintain the €700million release clause in the player’s contract remains valid.
Guardiola managed Messi at Barcelona between 2008-12 and their pair enjoyed arguably the most successful periods of their careers together during that period, winning two Champions League titles.