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Transfer news: Lionel Messi to Manchester City? He does often ask about City, claims Argentina team-mate Pablo Zabaleta

Yaya Toure has also spoken of his desire to play alongside Messi at the Etihad

Lionel Messi would be interested in a transfer to Manchester City, according to the 26-year-old’s Argentina team-mate Pablo Zabaleta.

Zabaleta’s desire to be playing alongside the Barcelona forward, who has won the Ballon d'Or award for the past four years, at the Etihad Stadium has been backed by fellow City player Yaya Toure.

Right-back Zabaleta has revealed that Messi often asks about what life is like at Manuel Pellegrini’s free-scoring side when they are off on international duty together. “He asked me a lot about City,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s something we often talk about.”

City take on Barcelona in a mouth-watering Champions League Last 16 tie, and while the winger’s father and agent has dampened reports he could leave the Nou Camp, former team-mate Toure, who played with Messi at the La Liga leaders between 2007 and 2010, says if Messi does ever leave Barca, he hopes it is to join him at City.

“If it’s to come to City, I hope Messi can leave Barca,” said Toure.