Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona dominated headlines on Friday following a report that the Argentine has halted contract renewal talks and is planning on leaving when his contract expires in 2021.
The Barcelona captain is fed up with getting the blame for the club’s problems and is frustrated with their failures in the transfer market, according to Manu Carreno at Cadena SER.
Former Barcelona star Rivaldo has offered his thoughts on Messi’s future in his column for Betfair and feels the 33-year-old could move to either Manchester City or Serie A champions Juventus.
Could Messi Move to Man City?
Messi has been linked with a move to Manchester City before. ESPN’s Rob Dawson reported in February that the Citizens were monitoring his situation following a public falling out with sporting director Eric Abidal.
Rivaldo thinks a move to the Etihad Stadium could tempt Messi as he enjoyed huge success working with manager Pep Guardiola during their together at Barcelona.
“When Messi’s contract ends he will be 34, but with his class I think he could still easily play in Premier League,” he wrote.
“It will be sad to see him go once his contract ends. Despite his connection to the club, he has the right to move if he wants and reuniting with Pep Guardiola at City could be tempting, as the two of them formed a great partnership of coach and player at Barca.”
It’s worth noting that Guardiola spoke about Messi in February amid speculation his club were interested in the Argentine. He told a pre-match press conference: “He is a player from Barcelona and he will stay there, that’s my wish for him to stay in Barcelona.”
Messi could also be put off a move to Manchester City if their two-year Champions League ban is upheld. The club have appealed their suspension, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport due to announce its decision in the first half of July.
Juventus is also a possible destination for Messi, according to Rivaldo. The Brazilian believes the possibility of Messi linking up with former Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin can’t be ruled out.
“With all this speculation, I believe that some agents are already dreaming about a Messi-Ronaldo double at Juventus and how big it will be around the globe,” he added.
“There would be a world ‘boom’ and I believe Juventus would quickly recover any investment on the Argentinian thanks to the boost they would get from visibility and marketing.
“It would be monumental to see both playing together and I’m sure many Juve sponsors would love to help this happen financially, so, it’s also a possibility for Messi.”
It would be a huge surprise if Messi were to join Juventus and play alongside Ronaldo. The two players enjoyed a legendary individual rivalry in La Liga for close to a decade before the Portugal international left for Juventus in 2018.
What Next for Messi?
Of course, it’s far from certain that Messi will actually decide to leave Barcelona. The captain told RAC1 at the end of last year he sees himself retiring at the club and doesn’t want to uproot his family.
Ben Hayward at the Evening Standard has reported that the news on Messi could simply be a way of the captain trying to send a message to the club to facilitate change after a tough season.
“This latest bombshell seems less like a real intention to quit Barca and more a message to the club and also its members to bring about positive change next summer and a winning project to give him a glorious finale in his twilight years at Camp Nou.”
Messi certainly wouldn’t lack for offers if he did decide it was time to walk away from Barcelona. There’s been a sense all season that Messi has been growing frustrated, as many fans are, and changes over the summer may be essential if the 33-year-old is to see out his career at Barcelona.