Manchester City are optimistic they can sign Lionel Messi now that they have Pep Guardiola.
Various newspapers are reporting that the Premier League club believe they are at the top of the queue should Messi ever leave Barcelona.
As unlikely a rumour as it seems, the Manchester Evening News have compiled some reasons why the Argentine would be interested in a move to the Etihad Stadium.
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For a start, there’s Guardiola’s presence. Messi played under the Catalan at Barcelona and the current Bayern Munich boss certainly had a huge influence on the 28-year-old’s career.
Then, there’s the connections Messi currently has at Manchester City. Sergio Aguero is his closest friend in football, while fellow Argentinians Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi would all welcome their compatriot’s arrival.
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City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain have also worked with Messi, having been involved in the Barcelona setup before moving to Manchester.
Whether that’s enough to tempt Messi to England, though, is another matter. The Manchester Evening News adds: “The Blues are confident that if the little Argentine genius ever gets fed up of life in the Catalan capital, his destination would be the Etihad Stadium.”
Why leave Barcelona?
Herein lies the problem for City. Is Messi every likely to get fed up of life at Barcelona?
He’s on the verge of back-to-back trebles and is part of the most prolific strike force in the game.
In January, he secured his fifth Ballon d’Or title and has shown no signs of slowing down, scoring 37 goals already this season.
Messi wants to play in Argentina
Adding to the dubiousness of the reports is Messi’s recent claim that he wants to finish his playing career in Argentina. This doesn’t mean he won’t make a diversion beforehand, but it’s easy to picture him playing another six or seven seasons in Spain before returning to his home country to finish his career.
In an interview with FIFA in January, Messi said: “Yes, I've always said that I would like to play in Argentina. It was always my dream when I was a boy, though I had to leave at a very early age because of my situation and it didn’t happen.
“I had to go to Europe, start out with Barcelona and make my career there. But I would like to return to Argentinian football one day. What happens after that, only God knows.”
Unless Manchester City can relocate to Argentine, it seems unlikely they will ever land Messi.