Lionel Messi has instructed his representatives to set up a meeting with Barcelona ‘to try and avoid a war’ with the club.
The 33-year old is determined to leave the club but wants to negotiate as amicable a departure as possible.
Despite his disillusionment with their sporting strategy, Messi still has a deep affection for the club and the city.
Fans, irate at their talisman’s decision, stormed the Camp Nou this week and amid ugly scenes were calling for the club’s board to resign. Political leaders have also been having their say on whether the brilliant Argentine can be persuaded to stay.
However, Sportsmail understands Messi is set on his decision, he wants a new challenge and wants his agents to instigate discussions over the best way for him to leave.
His agents have contacted Barcelona to underline their client’s wishes and that he wants his departure to be played out in a way ‘that avoids a war’. They are now awaiting a reply for when that meeting can be set.
Manchester City are considered Messi’s favoured choice but much will hinge on what Barca say in the meeting.
Despite a clause allowing Messi to leave for free, they are contesting that the date for him to inform the club of his wish had passed.
After his initial fax informing them of his desire to leave, Barca replied to say they were counting on him to go forward.
His will to leave is so strong though that he would still expect a compromise to be brokered over any transfer fee if he can’t leave on a free.