Lionel Messi 'more open' to Premier League move, says Guillem Balague

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla
Image: Lionel Messi has been with Barcelona since 2001

Lionel Messi is more open to the idea of moving to the Premier League than he was two or three years ago, according to Guillem Balague.

Reports in the national papers on Friday claimed Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are trying to persuade Messi to make the move to England.

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He is currently under contract with Barcelona until 2017 and has a reported buyout clause of 250m euros.

But Balague said he was "ambiguous" when he interviewed him earlier in the week and asked about his future.

"He said I live by the moment and my moment now is Barcelona," Balague told Sky Sports News HQ. "He's been there a long time, it's his life, he's got it all set up there…But the fact that one of the reported clubs approached him and his representatives twice in the last week suggests something is going on.

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"The receptions have been interesting because it has been like 'OK, we are listening, what do you have to say?'. It doesn't mean he is coming, but it means he is more open to the idea, which you couldn't have said two or three years ago."

Messi has been with Barcelona since 2001 and has previously said he wants to retire with the Catalan club.

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How to convince Messi goes beyond what you can do money wise. It has be a project to win, perhaps with a manager that he would be comfortable with.
Guillem Balague

However, he has had to deal with testing off-field issues this year as he is due to face trial for alleged tax fraud.

Balague says the Argentina international is "very unhappy" with the tax case and explained what it could take for him to leave Barca.

"How to convince Messi goes beyond what you can do money wise," he said. "It has be a project to win, perhaps with a manager that he would be comfortable with.

"He is in a situation where he is very unhappy with the tax case and also maybe has a new maturity with two kids where perhaps he wants to learn another language.

"It's a few things that make the proposition attractive, but doesn't mean he is going to go."

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