Lionel Messi wanted to quit Barcelona last summer and join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, a documentary created by TV3 (the primary channel of Televisió de Catalunya) has revealed.
Titled ‘Jocs fiscals’. the new documentary reveals that Messi was distressed by the possibility of going to prison after becoming embroiled in a tax scandal, and wanted to leave Barcelona.
Messi called Pep Guardiola and asked to go with him to Manchester City, leading to Pep departing a family celebration in El Vendrell to immediately visit Messi in Castelldefels. There, Messi confessed to Pep that he felt ‘trapped’ and scared of spending 21 months in prison.
Messi’s father, Jorge, who was in Miami at the time, called Manchester City chief executive, Ferran Soriano, to inform him of the situation and Lionel’s interest in moving to City. However, top Barcelona officials made it clear that they were unwilling to sanction a sale of their iconic superstar.
A few days later, Josep Maria Bartomeu, the president of Barcelona, met Messi face-to-face in Castelldefels and confirmed that he was not going to let him leave the club.
Finally, Messi accepted the situation and decided to continue his Barcelona adventure, even cutting short his vacation to join pre-season training a week early to join his teammates.
But as the documentary makes clear, the great Lionel Messi came very close to joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City in the summer of 2016, a transfer that would have shaken the footballing world to its foundations.
This isn’t the first claim of this nature, with journalist Xavier Bosch of Mundo Deportivo writing something similar back in June.