Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona continues to be a raging debate with the football icon being linked to several clubs including the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Messi is out of contract once the current season ends and is free to open negotiations with foreign clubs. Also Read - La Liga Points Table: Real Madrid Drop 2 Vital Points Against Real Sociedad Despite Vinicius Junior Strike; Atletico Madrid Ahead in Title Race
Publicly, PSG has time and again expressed their desire to see the Argentine play for the French club in future while Barcelona have expressed their displeasure over the public nature of the speculations. The rumours have been ongoing since the end of last season when Messi, in a stunning move, handed a transfer request putting top European clubs on alert before making a dramatic U-turn. Also Read - Virat Kohli Becomes First Indian to Breach 100-Million Followers Mark on Instagram
Pablo Zabaleta, the former Argentine teammate of Messi, wishes to see his countrymate play for Manchester City, a club he himself represented. “If Lionel Messi decides to leave Barcelona and he wants to play in the best league then he has to experience the Premier League for himself,” Zabaleta told the Mirror. It is something that will interest him because every player I know always asks me what the Premier League is like.” Also Read - What is BarcaGate? All You Need to Know About The Infamous Scandal Which Harms Image of Lionel Messi And Other Barcelona Greats
Zabaleta claims City offer perfect conditions with current manager Pep Guardiola tasting unprecedented success when he teamed up with Messi during their time together in Barcelona.
“Leo has been in La Liga for so many years and I think it would be a huge attraction for him to experience English football. And Manchester City offer the perfect conditions. He knows Pep very well, he knows [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [chief executive] Ferran Soriano and also [Sergio] Aguero. It would be a big decision if Leo leaves Barcelona. But if that’s what he wants then it would be a good thing for him to go to a club that has people already there who can help him to settle,” Zabaleta added.
Meanwhile, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman though insists that Messi, who signed with the club when he just 13, is happy at Camp Nou and continues to be a valuable player for the Catalan giants. “Well, we know that Leo is a decisive player,” Koeman told reporters. “He has been for many years, he is very concentrated. He’s excited, he’s happy and he’s been very effective in front of goal.”
“He’s someone that when we make passes between the lines to find him it gives a load of depth for the rest of the players and makes them even easier for him. He has a great vision of play, so of course if we want to try and go through or aspire to win trophies having Messi at his best is vital, but we need also everyone else at the best. That’s very important,” he added.