Manchester City to make a run at prying Messi from Barcelona

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu joined the Planet Fútbol podcast as the club opened its new office in New York City last week and is convinced he can keep both Lionel Messi and Neymar–whom he called the top two players in the world–for the long haul.

Neymar signed a new five-year contract with Barcelona in June, and both players have buyout clauses in excess of €200 million. That said, a source close to Man City says he thinks City bosses will go hard to meet the buyout clause for Messi in the next year now that the club has Pep Guardiola on board. Messi told SI earlier this year that he is extremely happy in Barcelona, though.

Bartomeu also said Barcelona is serious about starting a women’s team in the NWSL, likely in 2018 in New York, Los Angeles or the Bay Area, as well as a team in the new U.S. futsal league involving Mark Cuban and other investors.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.