Lionel Messi Barcelona
Where are you off to, Lionel Messi?Reuters

All hell broke lose ever since a Marca report this week revealed that Lionel Messi is not ready to extend his contract with FC Barcelona, which runs until the middle of 2018. Whether be it the tax evasion thing or something else, but to see Messi listed in the transfer market is a dream for every football club. Of course, we mean the affluent of European clubs.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris St Germain for instance. It is a wide known fact that Man City have shown real interest on signing Messi over the years, as they look forward to have formidable players on their lineup every passing season.

The prospect of watching two of Argentina's best forwards and the best of friends -- Messi and Sergio Aguero -- is tempting enough for football fans. For Manchester United fans too, we might assume. Also, with new manager Pep Guardiola bringing plenty of good results for the Citizens, the prospect of seeing Messi getting reunited with his former Barcelona coach is another thing fans are waiting with bated breath to witness.

City's arch-rivals Manchester United, possibly for the first time ever, have revealed that Pep Guardiola's side do have the edge of landing Messi, only if he leaves Barca in 2018 (or before that), refusing to sign the reported new extension that would see him get paid £825,000-a-week.

"City would be the favourites if he were to one day leave, but we would obviously love to sign a player of that level," an insider from Manchester United has been quoted as saying by the Sun on Wednesday evening.

"We can certainly compete on the cash front and Messi is an Adidas player like Paul Pogba, so we have our pluses. But all the same, we would not get involved in any bidding war unless Messi's camp gave an indication that he was willing to come here."

Messi, who joined Barcelona in the year 2000 as a youth player, before turning pro in 2004, has a total of 500 goals in 592 games (including friendlies and official fixtures) for the Catalan club (as on November 17). His contract with Barca runs until June 30, 2018 and his release clause, well, take a breath, a staggering 250 million euros.