UPDATED 8/25, 10:11 p.m. ET: It looks like there's a chance Lionel Messi might head to Manchester.
Though nothing has been confirmed, Messi spoke to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola about making the move to the club, ESPN reports sources as saying.
If he does sign with Man City, a clause in his contract could reportedly see him go to New York City FC after three years in the Premiere League.
See original story below.
Barcelona confirmed to ESPN Deportes' Jordi Blanco that Messi notified them of his decision via burofax, a Spanish service that is used to "urgently dispatch a document that requires proof to third parties." Though he's signed until 2021, Messi is said to be counting on a clause in his contract that could set him free.
Per ESPN's sources, Messi has reportedly become disappointed with the direction of the club in recent months. In particular, the embarrassing 8-2 Champions League loss to eventual winners Bayern Munich was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back. Messi is said to have told the club he spent his entire career with, that he's looking to "embark on a new challenge" after playing his first season without a trophy since 2007-08.
Coach Quique Setien was fired by Barcelona following the Champions League loss, and Messi met with his replacement, Ronald Koeman last week, informing him that he was uncertain about his future with the club. Barcelona made it clear that they want to continue building with Messi assisting Koeman as the team's leader. As we now know, it wasn't enough to keep arguably the greatest soccer player of all time.
The six-time World Player of the Year has been the face of FC Barcelona since he joined the top squad in 2004,. He has considered departing from the club in the past but has never formally requested to leave, until now.
It's likely that several teams will try to strike a deal to acquire Messi. But early predictions have Manchester City, Inter Milan, and Juventus wit the best odds of landing Messi.
Here's how his teammates, Carles Puyol and Luis Suarez reacted to the news.