Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona and joining Manchester City is 'real'

Lionel Messi to Manchester City? We've heard this before...

Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona appears to be far from certain.

Rumours have been circulating in recent days that the Argentine is not ruling out the possibility of leaving the club when his current contract expires in 2021.

On the face of it, Messi's reported stance is easy to understand. Barca are a team in decline and a player of Messi's ilk needs to be playing with the very best.

Throughout the 2019/20 season, it has felt like the Blaugrana have been a one-man band, with Messi bailing out the team on so many occasions it's almost laughable - without him, they'd be struggling to qualify for the Champions League.

Of course, the potential arrival of former teammate Xavi as manager and ousting of Josep Maria Bartmeou as club president in the next election could convince Messi to stay.

But where would the 33-year-old go if he were to ditch the Catalonian club? Well, it seems Manchester City are once again a potential destination.

As reported by Christian Martin, the possibility of Messi leaving Barcelona for City is now 'real'.

Martin also suggests that the 'sporting conditions' and conditions away from sport would be 'positive for all involved'.

Roy Nemer, owner of an Argentina news website called Mundo Albiceleste, confirmed on Twitter that the source of the information is reliable.

With Leroy Sane departing for Bayern Munich, there is a place in City's forward line for Messi now available...

GIVEMESPORT'S Danny Ryan says...

Let's not get too carried away here. Yes, the info appears to be reliable and why wouldn't it? City would be the perfect destination for Messi were he to leave Barca.

His old mentor Pep Guardiola is manager, he'd already have one close friend at the club in Sergio Aguero and City are one of the few teams in the world that could probably financially accommodate him.

But signing a 33-year-old who would be on double the salary of Kevin De Bruyne? It just doesn't feel like a Guardiola move, regardless of the manager's attachment to the player.

Guardiola & Messi

However, there is still that little voice in my head that says 'think of the benefits City would reap from signing Messi....'.

Their global brand would be increased tenfold - just look at Juventus after signing Cristiano Ronaldo - and there aren't many players in the world better suited to Guardiola's playing system at City than Messi.

Part of me wants to say the deal is impossible, but after Ronaldo's unexpected mega-move to Juve in 2018, I just cannot do it.

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