MANCHESTER City got a boost in their pursuit of Lionel Messi after he admitted he is “tired of always being the problem” at Barcelona.

The Argentine (33) was met by tax inspectors as he flew into Spain after their 2-0 win over Peru.

The media also quizzed him over claims made by Barca teammate Antoine Griezmann’s former agent Eric Olhats.

He said “deplorable” Messi went out of his way to unsettle the Frenchman and oversaw a “regime of terror” at the club.

At that point, Messi snapped, saying: “I’m tired of always being the problem.”

On the tax inspectors, he added: “I arrive and there they are some tax agents, asking questions, it’s madness.”

Messi and his dad Jorge were found guilty of tax fraud in July 2016 and slapped with a suspended 21-month prison sentences.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was also fined £1.5million (about R32m).

At the time, he admitted he wanted to leave Spain over the mess.

City have not given up hope of reuniting Messi with boss Pep Guardiola – and young defender Eric Garcia could be used as a makeweight.

City know the Catalan giants are desperate to bring the Spain international back to the Nou Camp, giving them a useful ace up their sleeve if a Messi deal is there to be done.

Barca have been floored by the coronavirus crisis and are struggling to raise the cash to buy Garcia or Lyon’s Memphis Depay.

That has led to reports in Spain that Real Madrid could try to nip in to steal Garcia.

The 19-year-old’s Etihad contract is up in the summer. But City believe they could still demand a sizeable fee for him in January or use him as leverage in any bid for Messi.

Guardiola has not given up hope of persuading Garcia to sign a new contract.

But he has fallen down the pecking order at City after the arrival of Ruben Dias. And he is worried a lack of football might impact his chances of playing at Euro 2020. – THE SUN