Messi: Manchester City ready to pounce if Leo doesn't sign at Barça

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Andre Gomes has rubbished claims that he said Lionel Messi, not Ernesto Valverde, picked Barcelona's team.

Manchester City have held what has been described as "serious conversations" regarding the potential signing of Lionel Messi according to reports in Spain.

Runners-up to Germany in 2014, Argentina may become the first country not to qualify for the World Cup after reaching the finals of the previous competition since Czechoslovakia missed out in 1966.

Jorge Sampaoli's side are sixth in the South American standings but a win over Ecuador would be enough to secure at least a play-off place, with Peru and Colombia, the two teams above them, playing each other. Several senior players were prepared to quit Argentina team and announce their global retirement after the Copa exit in 2016 as well.

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Argentine coaches working in South America have done their national team a few bad turns over the past two years and Jorge Celico could deny the twice champions and 2014 runners-up a place at the World Cup in Russian Federation next year.

Neymar, who left Barcelona to join PSG this summer in a world-record move, came third in the voting in 2015 and was fifth a year ago, while Suarez has yet to make it into the final three-man selection.

Messi's only worldwide achievement remains the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup where he won the Olympic gold.

Argentina's most recent victory in Ecuador was on August 15, 2001, when they won a World Cup qualifier 2-0 on goals by Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo.

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Messi's new deal would keep him at the Nou Camp until 2021 and he would follow fellow Barca legend Andres Iniesta in committing his future to Ernesto Valverde's men.

The former player also does not believe that Argentina team have a psychological issue.

"It depends on us", said Sampaoli.

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