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Lionel Messi a sensational 6/1 to join Chelsea before end of 2015

Lionel Messi is a 6/1 shot with Coral to join Chelsea before the end of 2015, following reports of a rift with Barcelona boss Luis Enrique.

While the La Liga giants’ coach refused to scotch speculation that his relationship with Nou Camp star Messi has reached breaking point, there have been a number of recent high-profile departures from the Catalan club.

Barca director of football Andoni Zubizarreta and assistant Carles Puyol have left, and now president Jose Maria Bartomeu has added fuel to speculation of disharmony behind the scenes by bringing forward elections, originally not to be held until 2017, to this year.

It is understood Bartomeu will stand for re-election, but added: “There has been an astonishing amount of tension over the last few weeks and that is unacceptable for the club.”

Of Zubizarreta’s dismissal, Bartomeu also said: “There have been changes in the last few weeks, we have lost confidence. It was the right decision for him to go. It was time for a change. It has affected Luis Enrique as well, he has been working very closely with him.”

Who better than odds-on 8/13 Premier League title favourites Chelsea to capitalise on Barcelona’s internal strife than by signing icon Messi? Blues fans should salivate at him lining up behind Diego Costa and alongside brilliant Belgium international Eden Hazard.

Messi would also work with ex-Barca teammate Cesc Fabregas again at Stamford Bridge and, while Bartomeu was desperate to downplay tensions between the Argentina captain and club boss Enrique, other commentators indicate he is close to leaving.

“Lionel Messi has never been as close to leaving as he is now,” said Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

There is no doubt Barcelona are a club in crisis off the field, with them operating under a transfer embargo that prohibits them from buying players, but not from selling. Back Messi to make a move to Chelsea as behind the scenes politics take their toll.