Lionel Messi has handed in a transfer request at Barcelona.
The six time Ballon D’Or winner sent a recorded letter by fax to the club expressing a desire to exercise a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave on a free transfer. Barcelona believe the clause has expired and the Argentine is duty bound to stay until next year.
Messi now 33 has been at Barcelona since 2000 and has scored 634 goals in 731 appearances.
So where does he go? More appropriately who can afford him? Three clubs immediately spring to mind.
Messi was more successful in Europe under the guidance and protection of one Mr. Pep Guardiola. A reunion at Man City is not out of the realms of reality, especially as the club has the financial clout to afford someone of his stature. With the club as a whole striving for a coveted Champions League, signing Messi seems like a no brainier, especially after all ready losing an attacking threat in Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.
Would playing in a notoriously tough league benefit an aging Messi? Other options may seem alot more desirable.
Another club with the financial strength and same desire to win the Champions league. One stumbling block would be Messi’s old strike partner Neymar. One of the reasons given for Neymar’s departure for Barcelona was because he wanted to be the main man and prove to the world he is the greatest.
Last time a clash of egos happened at Barcelona, Ibrahimovic was sent packing. However it’s been widely reported that Messi for a long time wanted to bring Neymar back to Barcelona so they can rediscover their spark with Suarez. Funnily enough new Barcelona manager Ronald Koemen has apparently informed Suarez of his intention to let him go. Can we see the trifecta reformed in Paris this year, and if so where does that leave Mpabbe and Di Maria?
Inter have secure Antonio Conte as their manager for next year, can they secure Lionel Messi with him? The Milan side finished just a point behind Juventus and lost the Europa League final, extending their trophy drought to ten seasons. Signs seem to be pointing to Messi all ready having bought property in Milan, and his image was recently used by Inters owners when promoting an Inter Milan game in China last month.
Obviously this draws comparison with Ronaldo moving to Juventus two seasons ago, but no doubt having those two in Serie A will help bring the league back to its glory days.
Stays at Barcelona
Many are saying this could be a power play to get the current Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Since Messi informed the club of his intention to leave, protests have been happening outside the club headquarters. An announcement by Barcelona presidential candidate Jordi Farre stated that he will present a vote of no confidence against Bartomeu this week, which club members will vote on.
Manchester United – If Messi is the Tom Brady of soccer, and Manchester United owners have all ready purchased Tom Brady for their American Football franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is it possible they may do the same for United?
Chelsea – Werner, Ziyech, Haivertz, Chilwell and Thiago Silva, thats a great transfer window by any means, however reports are that Lampard has his sights now set on Messi.
MLS or Chinese Super League – These leagues can never be ruled out due to the financial power of some of the teams involved. However if Messi wants to win another Balon D’or, he wont accomplish that in America or China.
Castlewarren Celtic – Kilkenny district league second division side Castlewarren Celtic are said to be interested, however they are unwilling to negotiate a reduction in money Messi would have to pay every Sunday for the ref. Its two euro a man, no matter who you are.