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Barcelona Icon Lionel Messi 'More Than a Dream' for Milan’s Inter, Reveals Italian Club’s Ex-Boss

Massimiliano Mirabelli, former sporting director of Inter Milan, has opened up on the football club’s long cherished transfer target – football icon Lionel Messi.

The Argentinian superstar and forward with Spanish club Barcelona is becoming a serious possibility, claims Mirabelli in an interview for Radio Sportiva in Italy.

Currently, Messi is reported to be increasingly unhappy in the Barcelona team, and speculation has been rife regarding his future, as his contract with Barca is set to expire next summer.

© AP Photo / Alastair Grant
Portuguese soccer player Ronaldo, left, shakes hands wit Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi during the The Best FIFA 2017 Awards at the Palladium Theatre in London, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017

As the winner of a record six Ballon d'Or awards embarks upon the final year of his current contract, Inter's Chinese owners, according to the outlet, are holding their breath, ready to snap up the man often dubbed the best football player in the world.

“When I was at Inter, President Zhang would talk about the transfer market and say, "I want Messi," but we had to explain it wasn’t possible due to Financial Fair Play,” Mirabelli revealed in the interview.

The former director was referring to Chinese businessman Steven Zhang, the chairman of the Italian football club Inter Milan.

“I can assure you that Messi is more than a dream for Inter. He now has only a year left on his contract and Barca don’t want to risk losing him for free next summer.”

© AP Photo / Manu Fernandez
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lionel Messi’s contract afforded him the opportunity of leaving FC Barcelona this summer, in an option that expired in June, automatically extending the lease for one final year.

“There are important decisions to be made in Spain, but they won’t want to be left empty-handed. Anyone who wants to make the most of the situation should step forward,” Mirabelli added.

The remarks come after Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich on 14 August in the Champions League quarterfinal at Luz stadium in Lisbon.

​The 33-year-old Argentinian star, who has been with the Barcelona team since his youth, joining Barca’s division of under-14 players in the early 2000s, was reported as being fed up with “squabbles” inside the club and urging the need for drastic changes.

​Amid transfer speculations, even the player's astronomical £625 million release clause is considered by experts as not necessarily likely to put off bids for him, with Barcelona's financial and strategy director Pancho Schroder conceding as far back as in March 2018 he was not fully confident that the money deal would put off rival clubs.

“We set up a clause which we think is enough to have Messi retire at FC Barcelona. But having said that, we thought a year ago that the clause for Neymar was also good enough to retain the player, and that proved last summer not to be the case. Looking at the future, I think, is difficult, but I don't have a crystal ball and these days things are getting a little bit crazy,” Schroder was cited by Sky Sports News as saying at the time.

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