Cape Town - Ariedo Braida, Barcelona's new international sporting director, has paved the way for further speculation on the future of Lionel Messi.
For the first time in his Barcelona life, Lionel Messi has been unsettled with talk of a rift between the Argentina star and his coach, Luis Enrique.
Chelsea and Manchester City were immediately linked with the 27-year-old star player, arguably one of the best players of all time.
It remain inconceivable that Messi would ever be sold, no matter the value, unless the player himself demanded to leave.
Now, Ariedo Braida, has put himself and Messi in the spotlight by suggesting that while, unlikely, Messi could depart the Nou Camp for Manchester, according to teamtalk.com.
Braida told Spanish TV channel Esport3: "I believe it's very difficult that Messi will leave Barca but at times in football strange things happen.
"Now with these clubs that have so much money like (Manchester) City, certain amounts don't seem to have a value.
"In football things happen that appear impossible but I hope he will remain.
"Sometimes strange things happen. He is a phenomenon, an extra-terrestrial comparable to Maradona and Pele."
Messi's contract expires in June 2019.