Man City: Is Messi interested in summer move?
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Legendary Brazilian striker Rivaldo has suggested that Manchester City could enjoy an even greater dominance of English football, at the expense of both Manchester United and Liverpool, if they can tempt Barcelona star Lionel Messi to join the club in the summer transfer window. The 33-year-old, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, has been linked with a move to Pep Guardiola’s side for a number of years, but looks set to finally leave the Nou Camp upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season.
City have been tipped as potential suitors ever since Messi announced his intention to call time on his Barca career in pre-season, with French champions PSG also said to be in the hunt for his signature.
Barca remain hopeful of being able to convince him to stay, with Josep Maria Bartomeu, the club’s former president who spectacularly fell out with Messi during the summer, long gone after resigning in October.
However, the mercurial forward is still expected by many to depart on a free transfer when his deal runs out.
Rivaldo, who won the World Cup with his country in 2002, believes that City should act quickly to seal Messi’s services ahead of PSG, as his presence in the side would help them ward off competition from the likes of United and Liverpool in the search for silverware.
The 48-year-old also highlighted the potential rewards of a reunion between Messi and former boss Guardiola.
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The pair were both crucial to Barca’s astonishing period of dominance between 2008 and 2012, when the Catalan club fielded arguably the greatest team to have ever played the game.
“Pep Guardiola has one of the best squads in Europe, and Manchester City are in incredible form right now after 19 consecutive wins, jumping to a 10-point lead in the league and taking a solid step forward in Europe this week,” Rivaldo told Betfair.
“City are a very rich club and that allows them to sign the best players in the world. For that reason, they would be a very solid destination for Lionel Messi if he leaves Barcelona.
“Mix the great moment of form they’re going through with the fact that Guardiola has already coached Messi with huge success, and it’s clear that the English club would become even stronger with the Argentinian star on their ranks.
“In fact, with Messi, they would be the favourite to win any competition.”
Guardiola previously hinted that City could pursue a move for Messi at the end of the season, claiming that he would like to sign a player that can win matches single-handedly and naming the veteran forward as an example.
“We don’t have a single player who can win a game, we don’t have a Cristiano, a Messi, a Neymar,” said Guardiola after City’s 3-0 win over Tottenham earlier this month.
“We don’t have these types of players who can win games by themselves. I told the players many times, you have to play as a team.
“I will be honest. I’d like to have a player to score, every single game, four goals and run like these players can run. I would love it.”
Messi has found the net on 18 occasions this season from 22 La Liga appearances, which represents a slight downturn from his form of old.
The fact that this could be seen as a lacklustre campaign by Messi’s own standards is testament to his frightening ability.
He has scored 657 times for Barca since making his professional debut in 2003, the highest number of goals scored by a player for a single club in the history of the game.
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