Barcelona star Lionel Messi is a Manchester City and PSG transfer target.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi would prefer to leave the Nou Camp for Manchester City instead of PSG, reports say. The Argentina international is ready to leave the La Liga giants after nearly two decades. And though PSG would love to unite him alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in attack, City are frontrunners in the race to secure the forward’s signature.
Barcelona’s 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich was the final straw for Messi, who is now ready to quit the club and embark on a new challenge elsewhere.
The Argentina international is at odds with the club’s hierarchy, believing they’ve recruited poorly in recent years.
Messi also never wanted Ernesto Valverde sacked and felt that Quique Setien was the wrong choice from the very start. He’s also said to be unimpressed with Barcelona’s decision to name Ronald Koeman as their new manager.
Now, a parting of the ways looks likely.
And OK Diario say that Messi’s preferred next destination is the Premier League with City, rather than Ligue 1 with PSG.
The Argentina international previously played under City boss Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, winning three La Liga crowns in four years and also lifting the Champions League trophy on two occasions.
Now, it’s over to City to try and find the resources to sign Messi – which will be easier said than done.
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Guardiola’s side will have to do so while complying with Financial Fair Play relations, with governing body UEFA already coming down hard on them in the past.
But PSG remain hopeful of signing Messi nonetheless and would relish the opportunity to deploy the 33-year-old alongside Neymar and Mbappe as they seek to win the Champions League for the first time in their history.
It’s claimed Neymar has already been in touch with his former Barcelona mate-mate about the possibility of a reunion over at the Parc des Princes.
And what ultimately happens with Messi is something only time will tell, with Barcelona genuinely at risk of losing the best player in their entire history.
Meanwhile, Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney recently opened up on Messi – and admitted he felt only his old side and City had the financial muscle required to bring the Argentine to England.
“I think he is one of the only players I’ve ever sat there and watched and been in awe of,” Rooney told talkSPORT.
“He could come to the Premier League and become the player of the year, one million per cent in my opinion.
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“I don’t think he can do it for the next two or three years, but certainly for next season if he signs himself with players like Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, with these types of players, he can go win a seventh Ballon d’Or.
“I know he is getting a bit older, but no one has ever seen a player like him. There’s that debate of Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo – and Messi just has everything.
“He is the best player of all time and if he can come to the Premier League, whichever team it is, and I truly believe it is Manchester City or Manchester United who can sign him.”
Author and commentator Andy West, meanwhile, told Bleacher Report that Messi had explored the prospect of leaving Barcelona before, back when Luis Enrique was manager.
“Messi has considered leaving before,” he said.
“At the start of his career he contemplated a big offer from Inter Milan, and more recently he seriously struggled to connect with Luis Enrique during the early days of his managerial stint at the Camp Nou.
“It came to a head at the start of 2015 when Luis Enrique left both Messi and Neymar on the bench for a game at Real Sociedad because they had only recently returned after spending Christmas in South America.
“Barca lost the game 1-0, Messi skipped the following day’s open training session for young fans and mischievously started following Chelsea on Instagram.
“It was a fraught week, but reconciliation came with a stirring victory over Atletico Madrid and the two enjoyed a decent relationship after that.
“I think it would be perfectly understandable if Messi chose to leave now. The club has become a circus, and for the last few years he has been asked to do far too much to paper over the ever-widening cracks.
“Messi is fully aware of the poor state of the team and the club in general and feels that his public warnings have not been heeded.
“Considering the ageing profile of the squad and their dire financial situation, it’s hard to see how Barca will be able to challenge for a major trophy next season, and Messi must be wondering whether he is prepared to effectively waste one of the few remaining years of his career.”