Lionel Messi told Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola he was leaving Barcelona before he told Barcelona, the clearest hint yet at who he’ll sign for

  • Lionel Messi shocked the world on Tuesday by handing in a transfer request at FC Barcelona.
  • However, according to The Times, the Argentine had already told Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola he was going to quit.
  • The Times reports Messi called Guardiola last week to tell him the news, after which the Spanish coach expressed a desire to sign him.
  • Messi played under Guardiola at Barcelona for four seasons between 2008 and 2012, during which time the pair won 14 major honors and Messi won four consecutive Ballons d'Or.
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Lionel Messi shocked the world on Tuesday by handing in a transfer request at FC Barcelona.

However, according to The Times, the Argentine had already told Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola he was going to quit.

The Times reports that Messi, 33, called Guardiola last week to tell him the news, and that the conversation ended with the City coach proclaiming his desire to sign him should he go through with leaving.

Messi played under Guardiola at Barcelona for four seasons between 2008 and 2012, during which time the pair won three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, and the Spanish Cup twice.

During their first season together, Barcelona secured an unprecedented "sextuplet" of trophies, winning La Liga, the Champions League, Copa del Rey, European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, and World Club Cup.

Messi also played the best football of his career under the tutelage of Guardiola, winning the Ballon d'Or in each of their four seasons together.

On Guardiola, Messi said in 2019, according to the Manchester Evening News: "Guardiola is the best of all. Luis Enrique is a very close [second]. I was fortunate to live many different stages of my life, but I think the Guardiola era was one of my best moments."

On Messi, Guardiola said in 2012, according to Goal: "It was an honour to be the coach of the best player I have ever seen and probably the best I will see."

The pair's phone call last week seems to reaffirm their admiration for one another, and places Manchester City in poll position to land the 33-year-old.

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