LIONEL MESSI has stunned the world of football by telling Barcelona that he wants to leave.
The bombshell was dropped on Tuesday evening, with the player having been in talks with new boss Ronald Koeman.
Messi has cut a disconsolate figure many times this season, none more so than after Barca's 8-2 drubbing at the hands of eventual Champions League winners Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
Manchester City have moved to favourites to sign the little magician, their boss Pep Guardiola having worked with Messi for many years at the Nou Camp.
And after Liverpool easily snatched the Premier League title from them last season, it could leave City fans ecstatic that they can get back to that glory again.
- LIVE: Latest news on Messi's exit
- Messi demanded transfer after Koeman told him "privileges are over"
- The Argentine star faxed his decision to Barcelona
- Fans have been protesting outside the Nou Camp
- Rio Ferdinand claims Chelsea are trying to sign Messi
- Man City favourites to sign him ahead of Man Utd, Inter and PSG
Here, we take a look at how Man City might look with Messi in their ranks…
Ederson will naturally start the season between the sticks, the Brazilian more spectacular than the odd erratic showings he puts in.
Kyle Walker looked rejuventated towards the end of last season and should start at right-back.
Aymeric Laporte seemed to be Guardiola's only sturdy choice at centre-half, and he is likely to have a new partner once the first ball is kicked.
That could well be Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Reports in Italy at the weekend claimed City had a greed a £63million fee for the 29-year-old who would bring some much-needed experience at the back.
That would mean new-signing Nathan Ake could be played at left-back – his versatility having already been highlighted by City during his £40m transfer from Bournemeouth.
Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri are likely to bag the central midfield spots.
MESSI TRANSFER NEWS LIVE: Breaking news on stunning exit from Barcelona
De Bruyne is now up there with the best in the world after yet another stunning season in the Premier League.
Rodri should finally get the chance to prove he can be the long-term successor to City legend Fernandinho – but the Brazilian won't let his place in the starting XI go without a fight.
Phil Foden is another who should get his chance to nail down a spot in Guardiola's first team.
The 20-year-old is viewed by many as the natural successor to David Silva, after the City hero left after ten seasons at the club to join Real Sociedad.
The front three could get defenders weak at the knees.
Raheem Sterling will be hoping to get himself into Ballon d'Or contention and continue his ascent to mazy winger AND prolific finisher.
Provided he can shake off injuries, Sergio Aguero should get the nod to lead the line. But Gabriel Jesus will be breathing down his neck to finally show he can be the Argentine's successor.
And then there's Aguero's Argentinian team-mate Lionel Messi. He could play coming off the right, but will likely drag players with him all over the pitch.
City will have their work cut out to factor in his £998,000-a-week to their wage structure.
But the chance to get the best player in the world in is surely one they won't pass up.
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