Lionel Messi: New Barcelona president vows to keep star
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Manchester City have reportedly decided against trying to tempt Lionel Messi to join the club. Following Messi’s failed attempts to leave Barcelona last summer, City were widely viewed as the favourites to sign the forward this summer.
Messi’s current contract with Barcelona is due to expire at the end of the season and City would have been able to sign him on a free transfer.
However, according to Spanish outlet Sport, City have decided not to make a move, with the club believing the forward will extend his stay at the Nou Camp.
Circumstances at Barcelona have changed dramatically since Messi tried to leave last summer, with Joan Laporta replacing Josep Maria Bartome as club president and Ronald Koeman becoming manager.
As a result, Messi is thought to be more open to staying at Barcelona, although he is not expected to confirm anything until the end of the season.
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With a move for Messi now off the table, City are reportedly targeting a top striker to replace Sergio Aguero, with Sport naming Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku as three players on the club’s shortlist.
It was confirmed earlier this week that club record goalscorer Aguero will be leaving at the end of the season.
Aguero has spent ten seasons at the Etihad and netted 257 goals in 384 appearances in all competitions.
In a post on social media, Aguero said: “When a cycle comes to an end, many sensations arise.
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“A huge sense of satisfaction and pride remains in me for having played with Manchester City for a whole ten seasons – unusual for a professional player this day and age.
“Ten seasons with major achievements, throughout which I was able to become the top historic goalscorer and forging an indestructible bond with all those who love this club – people who will always be in my heart.
“I was to join during the reconstruction era of 2011, and with the guidance of the owners and the contributions of many players, we earned a place among the greatest of the world.
“The task to maintain this well-deserved privileged position will remain on others. As for myself, I will continue to give it my utmost for the rest of the season to win more titles and bring more joy to the fans.
“Then, a new stage with new challenges will begin, and I am fully ready to face them with the same passion and professionalism that I have always dedicated to continue competing at the highest level.”
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “Sergio’s contribution to Manchester City over the last 10 years cannot be overstated.
“His legend will be indelibly etched into the memories of everyone who loves the Club and maybe even in those who simply love football.
“This is not yet the moment for farewell words and speeches. There is still much to achieve in the remainder of the time we have with Sergio, and we look forward to his contributions to the challenges which lay ahead.”
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