Lionel Messi is the name on everybody's lips in the footballing world right now.
Barcelona were informed of the Argentine's intentions to leave the club after 19 years when he submitted a transfer request by fax on Tuesday night, sending shockwaves through the sport.
There was a feeling of disbelief when the news first broke, but with every day that Messi looks to stand by his decision, the chances of seeing him in a Barcelona shirt again seem to dwindle.
Messi nearing Barca exit
The 33-year-old refused to show up for the squad's COVID-19 testing on Sunday and similarly played truant upon the return to training on Monday, running the risk of fines and suspensions.
The situation is also likely to spark a major legal battle with Messi's team claiming that the player is essentially a free agent, while Barca insist that he must honour his contract until 2021.
Nevertheless, Messi seems hellbent on continuing his footballing career elsewhere and Manchester City have emerged as favourites over Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan.
It appears that Messi is enthused by the idea of reuniting with Pep Guardiola, who he played under for four years in Catalonia, while City's passing brand of football would suit him perfectly.
But what would Messi bring to the Etihad? It sounds like the most redundant question of all time, granted, but City would be a signing of a version of the Argentine that's very much in flux.
The 2019/20 season marked Messi's lowest goal-scoring tally in more than 12 years, though his quality was shown elsewhere with the Barca star surpassing 20 league assists for the first time.
It's certainly something that will be on Guardiola's mind as he provisionally draws out plans for Messi in his head, especially when deciding how to partner him with Kevin De Bruyne.
Messi's 2019/20 stats 'debunked'
However, there's one football fan that has taken Messi's statistics and put them under the microscope, claiming to have evidence that his 2019/20 data shows 'how stats can fool you'.
Twitter user @Dag7i created a thread in late July titled: 'Lionel Messi 19/20 La Liga campaign stats DEBUNKED' and it received plenty of attention, tallying up almost 2,000 retweets.
And now seems a better time than any to reflect on the Twitter thread with City potentially parting with tens of millions to bring Messi to Manchester, so check it out down below:
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
There's two ways you can look at this.
Number one: What's Messi supposed to do - stop scoring against the easier teams? Of course world-class players are going to find it easier to amass goals when the resistance is smaller.
Number two: It does indeed show that Messi isn't what he used to be in the biggest games and his stats could be so much better had he performed at a higher level against the top clubs.
Now, I would be more in camp two if we were talking about a top Barcelona side, because it's less about criticising Messi for scoring against smaller teams and more about pointing out his decline versus the top teams.
However, when you look at the manifold problems within this Barcelona squad, I'm inclined to think it has as much to do with a lack of quality around him than Messi's performances taking a nosedive.
Sure, Messi might well have a part to play in this, but you have to take the statistics with a massive lump of salt when this is the same Barca team that was slapped about 8-2 by Bayern Munich.
And it certainly shouldn't deter City from signing, in my opinion, the greatest footballer to ever play the sport. His stats haven't been debunked... just ever so slightly devalued.
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