Alejandro Moreno explains how Lionel Messi brought Barcelona to victory over Real Betis after coming on as a substitute (1:38)

Manchester City haven’t given up on signing Lionel Messi for a free transfer this summer but will wait until March or April before investigating the situation regarding the Barcelona striker, various sources have told ESPN

Messi, 33, out of contract in June and has been able to negotiate with other clubs since January 1 City spearheaded the Argentine international last August when he asked Barca to let him go, but the Premier League leaders have held back in the last few months

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In contrast, Paris Saint-Germain has made a lot of ado about their desire to sign Messi at the end of the season

City will take its time and see how the situation develops, even if PSG took a different approach An approach that sources at Barca have told ESPN is completely wrong to seduce Messi

“PSG is making a mistake with the strategy they are using,” a source said, “Leo doesn’t like all that media noise, much less the kind of comments [that have been made]”

PSG sporting director Leonardo has confirmed that French champions are monitoring Messi’s situation, while coach Mauricio Pochettino and players Neymar and Angel Di Maria have publicly stated that they would welcome the Barca captain with open arms

Di Maria even said there was a “great chance” that Messi would sign for PSG – which led Barca coach Ronald Koeman to brand the French club as “disrespectful” – but City will offer stiff competition, when Messi leaves Camp Nou after 20 years in Catalonia

Sources have told ESPN that City is still persecuting Messi but has opted for a less aggressive tactic to pursue his signature

They followed a similar strategy last year when they did much of the groundwork, Pep Guardiola spoke to Messi on the phone to sell him City’s project, while sources told ESPN that some of the club’s staff were on a regular basis Stay in touch with Messi’s people

After Barca worked for several months without a leak after their 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, everything bubbled to the surface

When it became clear that Messi wanted to leave Barca, they moved in August Messi sent a burofax to the Blaugrana asking them to let him go.City had done extensive work on the numbers linked to the deal – taking into account Messi’s most recent four-year deal at Barca – and believed they were keeping him in compliance with financial fair play rules could sign the UEFA

However, then Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu refused to let Messi go, referring to his € 700m release clause Messi believed he could go for free but stepped down rather than bringing the matter forward Bringing judgment, ending City’s odds

This time around, Messi’s situation is different over the last six months of his business, however Messi has insisted he won’t make a decision about his future until the season is over and sources close to him have told ESPN that he is just focused on helping Barca finish the season strong

Koeman’s side are in good shape, unbeaten in eleven league games and have a Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla and the Champions League first leg against PSG next week

Aside from success on the pitch, Messi’s future could also depend on who will start as the new Barca president The elections are for the 7th March at Messi will be listening to the new president’s plans, with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa being the three candidates


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