BARCELONA, SPAIN — With word that perhaps the most decorated soccer player ever in Lionel Messi wishes to leave his childhood club, FC Barcelona, the two clubs that have emerged as likely landing spots in Manchester City and Champions League runner-up, Paris Saint-Germain are likely able to afford him. The question is, where does he end up?
Messi, 33, is fresh off of a 8-2 drubbing at the hands of eventual European champion, Bayern Munich, expressed frustration and disappointment at the direction at Nou Camp. In wanting to leave the Catalan giants, a team would have to meet the buyout clause of $825 million (700 million euros) before securing the services of the Argentine playmaker.
There are three clubs who could possible meet the high ransom for Messi in the form of Premier League power, Chelsea and the forementioned Man City and PSG, of those three clubs, the most likely who could afford the $1 billion-plus fee ( counting the 700 million euros, plus add-ons) would be Man City, thanks to their deep pockets of their majority owners (78 percent) from the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) and their owner Sheikh Mansour, who has a net worth of $17 billion pounds, with an estimated family fortune of $1 trillion.
In addition to the the money that Mansour and ADUG are able to spend for Messi, they also have his former manager from hi time at Barcelona in Pep Guardiola, as well as a system that Messi is quite familiar with, all signs point to a Messi-Pep pairing at the Ethidad sooner rather than later.
While PSG has similar deep pockets thanks to Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and his company, in the state-owned shareholding organization, Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) and their $338 billion have the advantage in already having two of soccer’s budding young super stars—as well as a former Messi teammate in Neymar, and World Cup champion in French striker, Kylian Mbappe.
Plus, playing in one of Europe’s most storied capitals and epicenters of culture, lifestyle and sports in Paris would far outweigh playing in the distant cold and northwestern industrial city of Manchester and under the shadow of another European giant in Man United.
While these are factors that Messi is—or isn’t weighing—surely he has to look at what is best for him as he enters the twilights of his already legendary career. But, if I were a betting man and put money down on it, I’d look for Messi to become a Citizen and sport the famed Sky Blue of Man City before long.
This article also appears over at our sister site, The Spectator here.