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Manchester City 'end Lionel Messi pursuit'

Man City 'end Lionel Messi pursuit'
© Reuters
Manchester City are supposedly out of the running to sign Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi, who is set to become a free agent next summer.

Manchester City will make no attempt to prise Lionel Messi away from Barcelona, according to Spanish football expert Semra Hunter.

Having been at war with the powers-that-be at Camp Nou for the past few months, Messi continues to be linked with a move away from Camp Nou after initially submitting a transfer request in the summer.

City have been regarded as the favourites to land Messi ever since, but Hunter has claimed that Pep Guardiola's side have accepted that they cannot fund a move for the soon-to-be free agent amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Hunter said: "I have it on good authority from someone close to the situation that Manchester City are not going to bid for Lionel Messi. Based on the information I have, as of today, that door is closed.

"They have two reasons for this: age and finances. Talking about age, he is heading into the twilight years of his career and you'll be bringing on board a Messi that is different to what we've seen for the last 17 years with Barcelona. Even he himself has said that he is getting closer to the dreaded r-word of retirement more so than anyone cares to admit.

"That goes hand-in-hand with finances because even though he would be able to join for free, his wages are astronomically high - he is earning about €100m (£89.2m) a year.

"That would be a huge financial burden for any club to take on, especially given the fact that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Either you have to offload some of the highest earners or you have to sell off players or make other tweaks in other parts of the club depending on whatever formula a club would want to use to bring Messi on board.

"Perhaps, clubs would rather invest that money into bringing younger players in or bringing in reinforcements in positions where they actually need those reinforcements."

City manager Guardiola recently admitted that he would like to see Messi hang up his boots at Barcelona, where he boasts six goals and four assists across all competitions this season.

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