Lionel Messi almost broke the internet by announcing that he wants to leave Barcelona. The Catalan giants had endured a difficult campaign, going trophyless last season and having had to deal with several off-field distractions as well, including boardroom unrest. Furthermore, the impending departure of Luis Suarez and alleged stripping of Messi’s on-field privileges and freedom by their new head coach Ronald Koeman could well be the last straw.
With that in mind, here’s a look at a few potential destinations should Messi go on to leave Barcelona ahead of the new season.
Perhaps his most likely destination if his contract with Barcelona is, indeed, terminated, Messi has long been on the radar for the club from the blue side of Manchester. The fact that they are coached by Pep Guardiola – someone Messi knows well and won everything possible under at the club level in Barca – will be an added advantage.
With Manchester City looking to wrestle back the Premier League crown and eyeing elusive Champions League success, Messi comes as the ideal fit. Aware that he only has a few more years left at the top, Messi is no doubt eager to add more European trophies to his cabinet, and that aligns perfectly with City’s objectives.
The least likely destination among the clubs mentioned here, Messi could move to the red side of Manchester if the thought of awakening a European giant that’s been in slumber for almost a decade appeals to him. Manchester United are one of the few clubs who have the financial muscle to afford Messi’s massive wages and their fans will be over the moon at the thought of having the Barca legend at Old Trafford.
However, United’s lack of stability and structure behind the scenes will remind him of why he’s leaving Barca in the first place, making a transfer to the 20-time English champions highly improbable.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain will certainly be in the market for a player they have always admired. After missing out in the final of the Champions League recently, PSG may feel that Messi could be the last piece of the puzzle as far as their quest to join Europe’s elite goes.
With the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe already in the team, the addition of Messi to their frontline is not an idea many defenders in the French league will want to entertain. For Messi, though, it may prove to be the ideal fix, with his desire to be surrounded by quality players desperate for Champions League glory quenched.
Joining Inter Milan in the Serie A is another enticing option for the legendary Argentine. Now 33 years of age, the pace of the Italian league will suit Messi as he looks to prolong his career for as long as he can. Him donning the Inter Milan jersey will also see him rekindle his club rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo in the Serie A after the Portuguese legend joined Juventus two years ago.
With Inter, Messi will be surrounded by youthful and hungry talents who will be looking to end the Old Lady’s domestic dominance in Italy. While Juve have been nothing short of ruthless over the past decade in the Serie A, the addition of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to Inter’s squad will tilt the scale in the Nerazzurri’s favour for the first time in a long while.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manu Fernandez
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