Top Clubs Battles For Messi’s Signature As He Calls Time At Barca
Lionel Messi’s bombshell request to leave Barcelona is expected to spark a legal battle over a multi-million-dollar buy-out clause but also raises the question of which club could afford him in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi’s priority has always been to be part of a “winning project” at Camp Nou, and newly-appointed sporting director Ramon Planes on Wednesday hailed the Argentinian as a “winner” the Catalan club was working hard to keep.
Messi is Barca’s record scorer and helped the club amass four Champions League titles, 10 La Liga titles and six Copa del Rey trophies.
Barcelona’s latest season, however, was not only devoid of trophies (for the first time since 2008), it was also defined by chaos and ended in humiliation with a 8-2 Champions League quarterfinal defeat by eventual champions Bayern Munich.
The 33-year-old Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, has not asked for a transfer so he can his feet up for the final years of his career.
This is a considered move aimed at adding to his successes, and in one competition in particular — the Champions League.
Those able both to afford Messi, who has a reported weekly salary of nearly one million euros, and convince him, may only be Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, with Inter Milan a third, more distant option.
City would appear favourites, but the club have always trodden carefully around the question of Messi.
For PSG, whose frustration in Europe has been comparable to City’s, even though the French club broke new ground by reaching last weekend’s final, Messi would also represent a seismic addition to the Qatari project.
A Neymar-Messi-Kylian Mbappe front three would not be a difficult sell.