The Barcelona forward, who became La Liga’s all-time leading goalscorer on Saturday, made headlines last week when hinted that he could leave Camp Nou in the near future


Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed rumours linking his club with a move for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Messi made headlines last week when he hinted that he could leave Camp Nou in the near future, and a number of top European clubs have been linked with a big-money move in recent days.

It was reported on Sunday that the Premier League champions rolled out the red carpet for the Argentina international ahead of his country’s friendly clash with Portugal a week ago, flaunting their new multi-million pound academy.

Pellegrini, though, has publicly refuted the suggestion that the Blues would be interested in Messi, who broke the all-time La Liga scoring record with a hat-trick on Saturday.

“The rumours are only rumours,” he told reporters. “What he did was exceptional and there are few players that can reach his level.

“The record he has got reflects how important he is for Barcelona.”

Messi’s international team-mate, Martin Demichelis, echoed his manager’s stance, adding: “I am happy for his record. For me it is not a surprise any more, what he is doing.

“[But] I don’t think I should give an opinion about the rumours before such an important game.”