Lionel Messi told Barcelona last summer he wished to leave the club to join Manchester City before changing his mind, says a report in Spain.
According to El Mundo Deportivo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner told the Catalans of his intentions in the same week as retiring from international duty with Argentina in the summer of 2016.
Messi missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out for his country against Chile in the Copa America final before being sentenced for tax fraud ten days later.
The report states Luis Suarez persuaded him to stay at the Camp Nou while his release clause of €250m was always going to make any move unlikely, with City said to be willing to offer €150m.
Pep Guardiola, the Argentine’s former Coach at Barca, took the reins at the Etihad stadium last summer and had been linked with a number of star players at the Blaugrana.