By Daniel Davis For Mailonline
Published: 00:00 BST, 18 October 2020 | Updated: 00:00 BST, 18 October 2020
Barcelona expect talisman Lionel Messi to leave the club and join Manchester City next summer, according to reports.
The 33-year-old was on the verge of quitting in the recent window after becoming disillusioned with Barcelona's stuttering form and controversial leadership - but had been prevented from walking away due to the prospect of a court battle.
The Mirror have now claimed, however, that the Nou Camp outfit are braced to finally let their icon leave at the end of this season.
Barcelona expect Lionel Messi to finally leave the club and join Manchester City next summer
Messi is understood to have informed Barcelona in no uncertain terms that his wish was to reunite with Pep Guardiola in England.
It took a searching conversation with Ronald Koeman to convince him to pledge his future to his boyhood team for one more year despite the sensational, and damaging, fallout from his transfer request.
Josep Bartomeu, Barcelona's under-fire president, had refused to accept that Messi was able to leave on a free transfer after the club's humiliating end to the previous campaign.
Messi's transfer request was waved away by Barcelona and the superstar was forced to stay
Under-fire club president Josep Bartomeu insisted clubs had to meet a £630m release clausesonos