Manchester City’s long-running pursuit of Lionel Messi has taken an unexpected turn. The English club have reversed their decision to recruit the Argentine forward according to information reported by Sky Sports and Mundo Deportivo.
Messi’s contract with Barcelona is due to expire on June 30th and City had long been linked with the Argentine. His former coach, Pep Guardiola, signed a two-year contract extension at the Etihad Stadium this past week, fuelling increased speculation.
“Manchester City’s doors are closed for Messi and there will be no offer,” said Sky Sports’ Semra Hunter.
“I can speak with authority because someone close to the situation has told me that Manchester City will not present an offer to Lionel Messi. Based on the information I have, Manchester City’s doors are closed for him.
“There are two reasons. Messi is reaching the twilight of his career and the current Messi is different to the one seen in the last 17 years at Barcelona. And economically, even if he came to City on a free transfer, the €100m cost in wages aren’t compatible for any club in the current pandemic situation.”
Messi, despite evidently slowing down as he begins to enter his mid-30s, registered 31 goals and 27 assists last season from 44 appearances. The season before he scored 51 goals and contributed 20 assists from 50 games.
Guardiola, for his part, spoke about his desire for Messi to finish his career at Barcelona last Saturday. “Leo is a Barca player,” the Catalan said.
“If you ask me my opinion as a person to whom that club has given everything, I hope he stays at Barca. I’d like him to retire there, I’ve said it a thousand times. That’s my opinion as a fan, but I don’t know what’s going through his head. There’s a lot left until the summer market.”
Barcelona‘s 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid on Saturday evening was the first time the Catalans have lost against a team coached by Cholo Simeone. It was a bad result, one that leaves Barcelona in 12th place.
The Azulgrana are currently 12 points behind league leaders Real Sociedad and just four clear of bottom-placed Celta Vigo. It’s mid-November and Barcelona are three times closer to the bottom than to the top.
Featured image courtesy of Sportskeeda.