Manchester City hold 'serious conversations' about signing Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Messi is believed to be happy in Catalonia, but after developing a hard relationship with the club, Manchester City are doing everything they can to pursuade him to move to the Premier League.

Since Guardiola left Barcelona Messi has continued to break records, including becoming the club's all-time highest scorer, but the chance to reunite with the coach under whom he transformed into a global star might be too good an opportunity to turn down, particularly against the backdrop of political uncertainty on and off the field in Catalonia.

While Messi and his family remain happy in Spain and Barcelona allegedly insist that "everything is calm", an offer of that magnitude would force decisions to be made, providing that Messi does not officially sign his deal before the end of 2017. Several senior players were prepared to quit Argentina team and announce their worldwide retirement after the Copa exit in 2016 as well.

Runners-up to Germany in 2014, Argentina may become the first country not to qualify for the World Cup after reaching the finals of the previous competition since Czechoslovakia missed out in 1966.

Messi's only global achievement remains the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup where he won the Olympic gold.

Celico, little known in his native Argentina, could help to dash the hopes of Lionel Messi's team if his Ecuador side deny them the win they need in their final qualifier on Tuesday in the tricky venue of Quito at high altitude in the Andes.

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"A World Cup without Argentina and without Messi would be a catastrophe", he said on Super Deportivo Radio de Santa Fe.

"I'm very confident that if we play with the conviction that we did [against Peru] then we are going to be in the World Cup".

Argentina, who have qualified for every World Cup since 1974, must beat Ecuador to secure at least a playoff spot for next year's tournament in Russian Federation.

The former player also does not believe that Argentina team have a psychological issue.

"There are 90 minutes for Sampaoli to show that he's the real saviour because everyone said he was the saviour for Argentina".

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