Manchester City hold 'serious conversations' about signing Lionel Messi


Barcelona chiefs have maintained they are not concerned about Messi's situation, despite his current deal expiring at the end of the season.

In addition to making the Etihad Stadium look appealing to Pep Guardiola, employing Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, two former Barcelona executives, was also meant to attract Messi.

The Argentines are in danger of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

They have also won just once in five other games held in Ecuador between the teams - a 2-0 victory in the Copa America in 1947. Several senior players were prepared to quit Argentina team and announce their global retirement after the Copa exit in 2016 as well.

Neymar, who left Barcelona to join PSG this summer in a world-record move, came third in the voting in 2015 and was fifth past year, while Suarez has yet to make it into the final three-man selection.

His Argentina side face a tricky trip to Quito on Tuesday night, knowing that anything less than a win will leave them unlikely to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after a disastrous qualifying campaign. But with Neymar's departure and Barcelona entering a new era under Ernesto Valverde, the team's new manager, the prospect of reuniting with Guardiola in Manchester may appeal to Messi. A defeat would see them crash out of the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

"The only ones who would be happy if Messi doesn't go to the World Cup would be Maradona fans because, that way, they can keep saying that he's the best". He also put forward the notion that coach Jorge Sampaoli now has to do his part and take responsibility.

"It depends on us", said Sampaoli.