Lionel Messi lined up a move to Manchester City last summer after feeling “trapped” at Barcelona.
A new documentary claimed that the Argentine called up former Barca boss Pep Guardiola just days after he became City’s new manager before the pair actually met face-to-face in Spain to discuss the move.
The documentary, aired on TV3 in Catalonia and called ‘Jocs fiscals’, also suggests Messi’s father and agent Jorge spoke to City’s executive director Ferran Soriano over the phone to say his son was keen to leave the Nou Camp.
The phonecall between the pair is alleged to have taken place on 6th July 2016, four days before Messi rang Guardiola for the meeting.
Guardiola was home in Spain with his family when the five-time Balon d’Or winner called him and the 46-year-old immediately travelled 28 miles to meet him.
The reason behind Messi’s decision is reportedly due to the stress he was under at Barca having been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud which left him feeling “trapped” at the club.
However, the decision was reversed when Messi’s father called Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to tell him of his son’s decision – only to be told he would not be allowed to leave.
After discussions Messi eventually signed a new contract with the La Liga side to keep him at the club until 2021.