Barcelona admits, begrudgingly, that Manchester City, PSG could sign Lionel Messi

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As Lionel Messi continues to rip it up in the second half of the 2014-15 season, Barcelona is becoming increasingly wary that the 27-year-old superstar could depart the Nou Camp in the foreseeable future.

Messi, who scored an 12-minute hat trick on Sunday against Rayo Vallecano to net yet another La Liga record, is contracted to Barca until 2019 and has a release clause of $220 million in his contract.

[ RELATED: Messi to Chelsea for $300 million? ]

Despite that fact, Barcelona sporting director is concerned that clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could pry the Argentine national team captain and four-time World Player of the Year away from the Catalan capital.

“I believe it’s very difficult that Messi will leave Barca but at times in football strange things happen,” said Barca’s sporting director, Ariedo Braida, in an interview with Spanish TV channel Esport3. “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.”

The advent of Financial Fair Play (FFP) was supposed to make it more difficult for clubs with endless resources, like Man City and PSG, to go out and buy whoever they wanted to. But I have a hard time believing that, despite the endless amounts of cash other clubs can provide, that Messi would really switch Barcelona, the only professional team he has ever played for, and head to England or France in his early 30’s to play out the final few years of his career. Then again, maybe he will?

As Braida said, “sometimes strange things happen.”