Serie A champions Juventus have attempted to steal a march in the race to sign Lionel Messi by contacting the Barcelona's star's father about a potential transfer, which could see him partner Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.
Messi is disillusioned with life at Barca and has a clause in his contract that could see him quit the Nou Camp for nothing, following a disappointing season which was highlighted by an 8-2 hammering by Bayern Munich.
Despite the clause expiring in June, Juve are not prepared to be left behind should the clause be deemed still active and are now preparing their attempt to land the star.
Respected transfer guru Tancredi Palmeri says that, according to L’Equipe, Juventus have contacted Messi’s father to find out the likelihood of him joining up with Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin.
Ronaldo and Messi had a fierce La Liga rivalry when the former was at Real Madrid, so it would be somewhat surprising to see them playing as team-mates.
And Juventus attacker Juan Cuadrado says he cannot see such a situation unfolding.
"I can't imagine it at all. The truth is that I don't," Cuadrado told ESPN Nexo on Thursday.
Cuadrado added: "Just like with Cristiano, many people did not believe and suddenly he arrived."
Premier League giants Manchester City are considered one of the most likely landing spots for five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, with his former manager at Barca Pep Guardiola at the helm.
L’Equipe confirm that City are Messi’s first choice, but claim that Juventus made ‘a discreet approach’ to Messi’s father Jorge directly.
For now, there’s no word beyond the Bianconeri having made an approach.
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Paris St-Germain and Inter have also been strongly linked with moves for the 33-year-old, who has won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns during his time at Barca.
Should he choose PSG, Messi would reunite with former team-mate Neymar in the French capital.
Reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona are not cooperative and club President Josep Maria Bartomeu has refused to meet with Messi to discuss the situation further.