Emmanuel Petit: Lionel Messi would struggle in England, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been sensationally linked with a Premier League move this week.

After the Argentine star’s high-profile argument with sporting director Eric Abidal, England’s top sides have reportedly been checking the maths on a potential summer move.

Suggestions of a Liverpool or Manchester United switch seem somewhat fantastical, but reuniting with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City appears a little more feasible.

Pep Guardiola has poured cold water on those suggestions, mind, and it seems as though fans will have to wait until the end of the season to see whether Messi heads to Blighty.

Regardless of whether he does, though, it’s certainly fun to hypothesise how he’d perform and especially when there’s an easy comparison to be had with his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi in the Premier League?

The Portuguese plied his trade in England for six years with United, winning the Premier League title – as well as the Champions League and Ballon d’Or – during a sensational 2007-08 season.

But would Messi be able to eclipse that if he moved to England? Well, that’s what Arsenal legend and World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit has been wondering in rather controversial fashion.

It’s fair to say that Petit believes the Premier League is far more suited to Ronaldo’s game and that football fans should be preparing for Messi’s decline regardless of his future.

‘Ronaldo is a different machine to Messi’

According to the Mirror, Petit opined: “Honestly, I don’t think he’s suited to the intensity of England. He doesn’t like being closed down and being fought. In Spain, he’s protected.

“It would be a pleasure for English fans to see him but I don’t see why a club like Manchester City , for example, would move for Messi at 32 or 33.

“If City wanted to buy him, they should have tried to do it a couple of years ago.

“Messi is not Cristiano Ronaldo. Physically, he’s not the same machine. Ronaldo is a monster but, at 32, Messi has only one or two more years playing at the highest level.

“Even playing alongside great players at Barca, he won’t have the same pace or the dribbling ability. I’m sure he knows the end is not far away.”

GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says

Is Ronaldo better suited to English football? Yes. Does that mean Messi would flop? No chance.

You look at what Guardiola’s City side have achieved over the last three years and it’s impossible to say with any certainty that one of the greatest players in history would somehow struggle in it.

Messi has been roughed up enough in European competitions to notice little difference in England and the Argentine is so talented that most tackles would go wide of the mark, anyway. 

And as for suggestions that Messi is a ticking retirement time bomb, give me a break.

Just because Ronaldo has broken down barriers with how he’s extended his career, that doesn’t mean that Messi is sitting with his feet up every night waiting for father time to call.

The Barca star is also putting in the work to stay at the top of his game and you only need to look at his most recently Ballon d’Or-winning season with 51 goals in 50 matches for proof.

So, yes, Messi isn’t ‘the same machine’ as Ronaldo… he’s arguably a better one.

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