All things, they say, must pass and the same could be true of Messi’s time in Barcelona colors.

The Catalan team’s talisman has long been considered by most as the very definition of a “one-club man” but football has proved time and again that there is no place for sentimentality. 

Recent Barca legends like Xavi and Andres Iniesta played out the latter part of their careers away from the club at which they forged their reputations, reportedly prompting concerns within the club that Messi could opt for a similar exit strategy upon the completion of his current contract. 

But where could he end up? There are but a handful of clubs who can boast the type of financial (or emotional) leverage to tempt Messi away from the Camp Nou, and below are five of the prime candidates:

If Messi’s motives are purely financial, rejoining his one-time strike partner Neymar in the French capital seems like a no-brainer.

The club is among the richest sports teams in the world and appears to be backed by a never-ending stream of funds from owners, Qatar Sports Investments. 

The massive investment in PSG has yet to yield the significant results the UEFA Champions League that the club’s hierarchy crave, but the addition of Messi could go a long way to changing that.

Furthermore – and this is true of anywhere he would go – the addition of the world’s best footballer would represent a marketing man’s dream and would soften the blow of the Argentine’s gargantuan salary.

The blue half of Manchester is currently in mourning after surrendering their English Premier League title to Liverpool this week and, depending on the impact of a potential ban from European football as punishment for transfer irregularities, they could well be tempted to open their checkbook to attract top players to close the gap between themselves and the new English champions.

Could Messi be a potential target? He had a good understanding with Pep Guardiola during his time at Barcelona and could, in theory at least, be persuaded to resume the relationship that brought 14 trophies to Barca in the four seasons they worked together.

Admittedly, this one is far less likely, but there is indeed a long history of players switching between the two Spanish giants. Luis Figo has never been fully forgiven by Barca supporters for joining up with his fellow ‘Galacticos’ at the Santiago Bernebeu, while (Brazilian) Ronaldo is another superstar player who made a similar move. 

For Messi to do the same would be unthinkable for the Barcelona following, and one suspects that there isn’t a check that Florentino Perez could cut which would prompt Messi to turn his back on the club he has represented since a boy.

Football, though, can offer surprises, and if Messi hits the open market, you can bet Perez and Los Blancos would be willing to do almost anything necessary to snare their current nemesis and turn the tables on their longtime rivals.

A recent transfer ban, as well as a slew of high profile sales and the promise of more investment from owner Roman Abramovich, has left Frank Lampard with a sizeable transfer budget ahead of the upcoming season.

Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech and German star Timo Werner have already been added, with more big money buys like Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell thought to be in the pipeline. But would the club be interested in adding the Argentinian ace at the end of next season?

Almost certainly yes.

London is a traditionally attractive destination for wealthy footballers, and Messi’s millions could be well spent in the English capital. Lampard, though, appears focused on recruiting young players with a high sell-on value and Messi doesn’t exactly fit the bill on that front. 

We’re sure an exception could be made, however.

Messi left his boyhood club at the age of 13 to join Barcelona, and the club remains convinced that their best-ever export could one day return mirroring a similar move made by Diego Maradona when he left European football in 1993.

I don’t know if it’s impossible. It’s a decision exclusively made by him and his family. We have to have the best possible context to help make a decision,” Newell’s vice-president Cristian D’Amico said of the situation.

When [Diego] Maradona came to Newell’s, nobody thought that he would come either. I hope that something similar can happen with Leo.

Obviously we shouldn’t be making things up, this is a delicate subject. What Newell’s doesn’t dream of seeing the world’s best player in their team’s colours? Time will tell maybe, we have to stay calm.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Fati arrives on international stage as Spain take control

PARIS – Ansu Fati announced his arrival in international football on Sunday after becoming the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Spanish national team in a 4-0 thumping of Ukraine that put them top their UEFA Nations League group.…

Dodgers win NL pennant, return to World Series

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated as Cody Bellinger’s drive soared deep into the Texas night. Bellinger flung his bat off to the side and strutted up the first-base line. All the way to the World Series.…

Dopers during pandemic ‘will get caught’ 24.04.2020

DW: The Tokyo Olympics, postponed until at least 2021, could feature athletes who have missed months of proper preparation and training. Do you expect them to be at their best? Sebastian Coe: I hope that, before too long, we as a…

Chinese men’s national football team starts training in Shanghai

  SHANGHAI — Chinese men’s national football team has started a 17-day training camp here on Monday. “With the resumption of the AFC Champions League and the CFA Cup, we have many games to play. I hope to leverage this…