Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is fascinated by Premier League side Manchester City, his Argentina teammate Pablo Zabaleta has revealed.
Zabaleta's comments come at an interesting time, with recent reports claiming the 26-year-old Messi is currently unsettled with life at the Camp Nou.
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has denied suggestions that he plans to leave the club at the end of the season, but Zabaleta has hinted that the man considered by many to be the world's best player enjoys hearing about the 2012 Premier League champions.
"I remember when we were in Barcelona we were very close friends because we were living in the same city and had known each other for a number of years," Zabaleta told the Guardian.
"I was just starting out at Espanyol and Lionel was at Barça. When I signed for City I think two days later the news broke that Sheikh Mansour had bought the club and Lionel always recalls that I joined at such a fantastic time.
"He asked me a lot about City but I couldn't tell him much because I didn't know much myself – but it's something we often talk about. Plus the fact that I'm still here."
Messi has a €250m release clause in his contract - and the likelihood is that any interested club would need to pay close to that figure in order to sign Messi, whose current Barcelona contract expires in 2016.