Lionel Messi turned down an approach from Barcelona to renew his current contract on July, according to Marca. The Argentinian international is said to be considering his long-term future at the Nou Camp and the Spanish publication suggests that Manchester City would be his most likely option should the forward finally decides to leave.
The 29-year-old still has a contract at the La Liga giants until the summer of 2018. However, as it's customary at Barcelona, the club approached him two years before the end of the deal in order to avoid seen him reaching the summer of 2017 with only 12 months left in the agreement.
But Marca claims that Messi rejected the proposal from the Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, asking to wait until the end of the year and half left on his deal to then decide on his future.
Yet, according to the Spanish publication, Messi is weighing up his long-term future at Barcelona, and even considered the possibility of leaving the Nou Camp before the end of his current deal. However, Bartomeu automatically ruled out that option as Messi's release clause is set at €250m (£215m, $269m) and the club would not negotiate his departure at any price.
Marca pointed out that Messi's decision came after a tough summer. Yet, the current Ballon D'or was hit with a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud before Argentina's defeat in the Copa America final shoot-out against Chile.
The Spanish publication claims that both parties have not made any contact regarding a new deal since then, but Bartomeu recently revealed that Barcelona are expected to open negotiations with Messi's entourage January in order to commit his long-term future to the club.
Yet, Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano have all signed new deals in recent months while Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic are expected to follow the same footsteps in the near future.
Then it will be the turn of Messi but Marca claims should the Argentine reject them again, a free-agent move to Manchester City once his contract expires in the summer of 2018 will be his most likely option. Yet, a move to the Etihad Stadium would let him to reunite with Pep Guardiola following their successful time together at the Nou Camp.