Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed a €700m (£623m) contract with the City Football Group, which owns Manchester City, after informing Barcelona that he wanted to leave.

The Argentinian superstar has not turned up for training under new Barca boss Ronald Koeman and City have been installed as the favourites to sign him.

Messi's existing relationship with manager Pep Guardiola and the fact the club's cash rich owners would be able to afford him make it easy to see why.

Now, according to the Daily Record's Duncan Castles, the City Football Group have agreed a deal with Messi which will see him earn around €700m (£623m) over a five-year period.

Lionel Messi is ready to leave Barcelona after growing frustrated in the direction of the club
Lionel Messi is ready to leave Barcelona after growing frustrated in the direction of the club

The deal would see Messi employed by the group rather than one specific football club and the report states that he would spend three years at Manchester City before moving to the MLS to join their sister club New York City FC.

The report quotes a source close to the player as saying: "Messi thinks Guardiola took the best football out of him, and he wants to repeat that."

Messi believes he can leave Barcelona for free after activating a clause in his contract but the club and La Liga are adamant that it expired in June.

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The City Football Group are prepared to pay Messi €700m as part of a five-year plan that would see him play for Manchester City and New York City FC

The clause allows Messi to leave for free if he formally states so within 20 days of the conclusion of the La Liga season but the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means there is some debate about whether the clause has indeed expired.

La Liga's statement on the situation read: "With regard to the different interpretations (some of which are contradictory) relating to the current contractual situation of FC Barcelona footballer Lionel Andres Messi that have been published across various media outlets in recent days, having analysed the player's contract with the club, La Liga would like to clarify the following.

"The contract is currently valid and contains a release clause which is applicable should Lionel Messi decide to trigger the early unilateral termination of the contract, in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985 of 26 June, which regulates the special employment status that professional sportspeople have.

"In compliance with the applicable regulations and protocol that apply in such instances, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa-release process for the player to be unregistered from the (Royal Spanish Football) Federation if the sum in the aforementioned clause has not been paid beforehand."