Lionel Messi's father and agent Jorge Messi has confirmed that his son will most likely leave FC Barcelona. He has responded positively towards the prospect of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner moving away from Camp Nou. However, he has denied that his son is currently in contact with City boss Pep Guardiola.

Jorge is his son's main legal representative. In a recent interview, the 62-year-old said, "A future at Barcelona? It is difficult. It would be difficult to stay. I haven't talked with Pep. There is nothing yet with City."

Messi has so far spent his entire career at Camp Nou. Previously, it was thought that the Argentine would retire in Barcelona. But he changed his mind after his side was thrashed 2-8 by Bayern Munich in the final eight of the recently concluded UEFA Champions League. Before that, Barca finished their La Liga campaign as runners-up in La Liga after a string of poor performances following the coronavirus lockdown.

Last week, Messi shocked the football fraternity by requesting his club for a formal transfer. He expressed his desire to work out the release clause in his contract, which allows the Argentine to move to a different club for free at the end of each season. Messi's current contract expires in 2021.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi Photo: POOL / Manu Fernandez

Since reports about Messi's burofax came out, a number of top European clubs emerged as his next possible destination. Although clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, and Juventus were linked with the 33-year old, Premier League side Manchester City remains the favourite in the race to sign Messi.

Messi had enjoyed probably the best phase of his career at Barcelona under Guardiola's coaching. As a result, speculations suggest that the Argentine might end up signing a record deal with the Citizens. According to Goal, Messi was in constant contact with the City coach before he submitted his transfer request.

Over the weekend, Messi didn't show up for Barca's pre-season coronavirus checkup. It has been understood that he won't report to any further training sessions in order to stay away from first-team affairs. Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman has joined Barca as their new head coach. It seems Messi isn't willing to practice under Koeman's guidance.

The 33-year old Argentina international is Barcelona's all-time top goalscorer. So far, he has scored a whopping 634 goals in 731 matches for the Catalans. He has also contributed 285 assists.