It's looking increasingly unlikely that Lionel Messi will sign a new contract at Football Club Barcelona.
The Argentine publicly declared his intention to leave the Spanish giants in the summer, but the Catalan club's board refused to let him leave unless his £630m release clause was activated.
However, with his contract up in the summer of 2021, the Barca hierarchy will be powerless in preventing their talisman leaving this time around.
Manchester City are still actively looking to sign Messi after failing in their attempts to bring him to the Etihad in the summer.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner will be free to enter into negotiations with the English club about a free transfer on January 1, 2021.
After that, City Football Group (CFG) would look to offer Messi the chance to play for one of their other eight clubs.
Their portfolio includes New York City FC, Australian side Melbourne City, Japanese outfit Yokohama F Marinos, India's Mumbai City FC and other clubs across the world.
Once the Argentine superstar has called time on his playing career - which could be when he's in his 40s - CFG would look to offer him an ambassadorial role within the organisation.
It's an intriguing plan and it's clear evidence that the signing of Messi is about far more than just football for both City and CFG.
Given the Barcelona legend's global appeal, his signing would all but certainly see City be able to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool in the commercial market.
The ball is now in Messi's court and all we can do as football fans is wait for the Argentine to make what will be the biggest decision of his glittering career.News Now - Sport News