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Report: Manchester City, Barcelona begin Lionel Messi talks

Report: Man City, Barca begin Messi talks
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Manchester City reportedly hold preliminary talks with Barcelona over a big-money move for striker Lionel Messi.

Manchester City and Barcelona reportedly held preliminary talks last month over a potential deal for striker Lionel Messi.

The 29-year-old is locked in negotiations with the La Liga side over an extension to his current deal - due to expire at the end of next season - with wages thought to be a significant stumbling block.

The Argentina international currently earns £500,000 a week at Nou Camp and is pushing for an increase following an £850,000-a-week offer from the Chinese Super League, but Barca are unwilling to commit to significantly extravagant sums, having already locked down Neymar and Luis Suarez to new big-money deals.

According to The Sun, City held informal talks with the La Liga side late last month to see whether a deal for Messi would be possible.

The newspaper claims that City did not make a formal offer for Messi at the meeting but "made it clear that they were not afraid" to beat the world-record fee of £89m that rivals Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer.

The talks were described as "positive" by one source, with City thought to be planning to offer Messi a significant wage boost to £800,000 a week before tax.

Messi has spent his entire career with the Catalan giants, scoring 326 goals in 363 La Liga appearances to date.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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