The news that Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona may have shocked the football world but his fellow Argentines back his decision and they are excited by growing reports of a reunion with coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
One of Argentina’s top newspapers reported that Messi believes his time in Barcelona is over and has decided to move to Manchester. ‘La Nacion’ said Messi was planning to talk with Guardiola to help hasten a move to England. However, Barcelona vowed not to let go of their prize asset for nothing and a Spanish sports lawyer warned any move could involve considerable legal wrangling over Messi’s contract with the Catalan club.
The growing number of reports linking him with Manchester City sat well with fans in Messi’s homeland.
“It seems to me this is the moment for him to abandon the comfort zone that he was in,” Gustavo Lopez, a customs official walking in central Buenos Aires, told Reuters. “ This is a challenge for him.
“For me, he has to go to Manchester City with Kun (Sergio) Aguero and Pep Guardiola. I think he should do it, the time is right to try and see if he can play somewhere else because until now he has always done well where he was, so let’s now see if he can do it somewhere else.”
Some of his career highlights at Barca came under the guidance of Guardiola, who is now City manager, and the prospect they might team up again is mouth-watering.
“There are always cycles (in life) and cycles come to an end and it is good that he goes down another path,” said Facundo Silva, a 45-year old hairdresser.
Manchester City are unsurprisingly the bookmakers’ favourites to land Messi given their financial capabilities and the obvious Pep Guardiola connection, while Inter Milan have been frequently linked with the player’s signature over recent months. Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are also listed high in the odds, though the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin surely makes that particular deal unfeasible.
Whoever buys, signs Messi, It’s set to be an interesting transfer window. According to the odds released by leading betting company BETFAIR, Man City to favorite to sign Messi followed by Inter Milan and PSG.
Lionel Messi: Next permanent club odds (via Betfair)
Man City – 6/4
Inter Milan – 3/1
PSG – 3/1
Juventus – 4/1
Manchester United – 13/2
Any MLS club – 12/1
Liverpool – 14/1
Leeds – 20/1
Any Argentinian club – 25/1
Bayern Munich – 35/1
Chelsea – 50/1
Lazio – 100/1
Newcastle – 100/1
Napoli – 125/1
Real Madrid – 150/1