​Manchester City will "end their pursuit" of Lionel Messi after being told by the player's representatives that he will not be leaving Barcelona - in perhaps the most obvious news of the weekend.

A public spat with technical secretary Eric Abidal had prompted rumours that Messi may seek a Camp Nou exit, which had the Premier League champions on red alert as they were ready to pounce on any uncertainties in Catalonia.

The dispute had began after Abidal suggested that members of the squad were responsible for Ernesto Valverde losing his job in January, stating that his player's performances had a direct impact on the club's decision to sack him.

​Messi responded ​furiously to the claims, and then further doubt was cast over his future after Abidal admitted renewing his contract is 'never easy'.

"The question is for him, hopefully it continues," Abidal told Mundo Deportivo. "Leo said that Barca is everything for him, that he wants to stay here, from there there are conditions.

"We are talking about the best player in the world and having a renewal with such a player is never easy."

The Argentine's current deal is thought to be worth £25.5m per year and is due to expire at the end of the 2020/21 season, with a clause included in the deal that states the forward is free to leave in the summer if he wants to leave the club. However, it was reported late last month that Messi had opted to remain with the side, and that Barça's president, Josep Bartomeu, ​would offer an indefinite renewal of his contract.

While ​City had launched an ambitious move to sign the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, their somewhat pointless pursuit has ended before it even began, with the ​Express claiming that Pep Guardiola's side have been told by the player's representatives that he has no intention of leaving the club in the summer.

Given the player's astronomical weekly wages, City had emerged as one of the only clubs in European football capable of matching such financial demands. Yet, their hankering for one of the greatest footballers ever to have lived will remain a mere fantasy for now.

Lionel Messi

Messi has grown frustrated with the recent decline at Camp Nou but has said repeatedly he wants to retire at at the club he joined aged 13. One public dispute was unlikely to ever change that.

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