Lionel Messi told Barcelona he wanted to join Manchester City last summer after a turbulent season, according to reports.
The Argentinian quit the national team after missing the decisive penalty in the Copa America final before being sentenced for tax fraud just ten days later.
And now Mundo Deportivo are reporting that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner then told Barca chiefs he wanted to leave for the Premier League club.
The Spanish publication even claim Messi was ready to come out and publicly declare his intentions to move away from the Catalan club.
But Barca refused to even consider selling their best player and made it clear Messi or City would have to pay his £219m release clause.
Barca bigwigs Josep Maria Bartomeu and vice-president Jordi Mestre then flew to Miami to meet with Messi’s father to smooth the situation over.
After a three-hour conversation, they could not convince Messi to stay.
But then close-friend and team-mate Luis Suarez spoke with Messi to discuss his future.
The Uruguayan took Messi to training where Mestre and Bartomeu met with him again and convinced him to stay.
Messi is still continuously linked with a move away from Barca with City always in the fold.
The 29-year-old’s contract with the Catalan giants expires at the end of next season but he has yet to agree a new extension.
But any attempts to sign the five-time Ballon d’Or winner look to be over after City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano admitted Messi “will stay at Barcelona”.
When asked whether Messi could be a City player, he told Chinese news agency Xinhua: “No. I don’t think so.
“I know Messi very well. He and his family are my good friends.
“At least next year, maybe he can finish that career. After that he can go to China or US, but now I think he will stay in Barcelona.”