Lionel Messi has held private talks with Neymar and wants his former Barcelona teammate to join him at Manchester City, according to reports in Brazil.
Nou Camp chiefs are working to convince Messi to stay at the club following the Argentina superstar’s bombshell request to leave.
The 33-year-old rocked the Catalan giants on Tuesday night, when it is understood he asked for his contract, which has a year still to run, to be terminated under an end-of-season release clause.
Messi’s intention to quit the Nou Camp came after Ronald Koeman’s appointment as Quique Setien’s successor last week, following a hugely disappointing season which ended with an 8-2 Champions League quarter-final drubbing by Bayern Munich.
And according to ESPN Brasil, Messi has his heart set on a reunion with Pep Guardiola – and even wants Neymar to join him at the Etihad.
The outlet’s commentator Jorge Nicola has claimed that the pair have spoken privately about Messi’s Barcelona exit, having enjoyed a good relationship during their time together in Spain.
And the Argentine has reportedly attempted to persuade Neymar to quit Paris Saint-Germain for a big-money move to the Premier League.
It remains to be seen whether City would have the budget to fund both moves, or if Guardiola would even be interested in signing the Brazilian.
However, the Premier League giants remain the favourites to sign Messi if he decides to quit the Spanish giants.
The six-times Ballon d’Or winner has been at the Nou Camp since joining the club’s famed La Masia academy, making his competitive debut as a 17-year-old substitute in a 1-0 LaLiga win at Espanyol in October 2004.
He has since scored a staggering 634 goals and won 33 major trophies, including 10 league titles and four Champions League successes.
Since the news broke, Messi, whose contract is said to contain a €700million release clause, has been linked with a series of potential suitors, with Manchester City – managed by former boss Guardiola – and Champions League runners-up Paris St Germain reportedly leading the chase.