Exclusive: How Messi’s transfer situation is similar to Ronaldo’s before he left Man United CaughtOffside

Exclusive: How Messi’s transfer situation is similar to Ronaldo’s before he left Man United CaughtOffside


Lionel Messi is surely set to run down his contract at Paris Saint-Germain as he eyes a transfer to another major European club this summer, according to French football expert Jonathan Johnson in his upcoming exclusive CaughtOffside column.

Messi has not said a firm no to PSG’s contract offer, according to Johnson, but it looks like the two parties will go their separate ways at the end of this season, with the Argentine’s spell in the French capital not going to plan.

Barcelona have an interest in re-signing Messi, but their financial problems look like they could make the deal impossible, which leaves Messi in a similar situation to that of Cristiano Ronaldo as he left Manchester United for a move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr earlier this season.

Although Messi wants to stay in Europe and try to win the Champions League again, Johnson can foresee a situation whereby there aren’t any offers that really live up to the 35-year-old’s expectations.

At the moment, the only concrete interest is coming from Barca, and if that’s not possible, that could mean following Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia, while sources at Inter Miami are also said to be optimistic about their chances of signing the legendary forward at some point.

What next for Lionel Messi?

“PSG put a contract offer on the table for Messi a few months ago. To be clear, this hasn’t been taken off the table, but equally there has been no response, either a clear yes or a clear no from Messi or his entourage. It is now expected that there won’t be any movement from either side, and the situation now is that it’s widely expected that Messi’s contract will just tick down and expire at the end of June,” Johnson explained.

“There’s been plenty of speculation in the last few months about where his future might lie, with links to Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. There’s been a denial, however, on Messi’s side, that the problematic trip to Saudi Arabia was anything to do with his future; it was simply a commercial contract that he was obliged to honour.

“There’s interest as well from Messi’s former club Barcelona, but they are mired in Financial Fair Play problems. Inter Miami are also interested, and a lot of people in and around the MLS club are talking up their chances of landing Messi at some point in the near future. However, my information is that any move there would likely not be immediate, with Messi keen to stay in Europe and keep on playing in the Champions League for another season or two. His form pre-World Cup with PSG suggests he’s still at the level to do so, but we’ll have to see if this latest incident with PSG changes things.

“The problem is, similarly with Cristiano Ronaldo before he joined Al-Nassr, there has to be interest from a European club who can offer Messi what he wants. Unless Barcelona make some massive changes in order to accommodate their former player, it’s going to be impossible to bring him back. At this moment in time, there are massive question-marks over Messi’s future and it’s realistic to question, at this moment in time, if this might be the end of his career in Europe. Barcelona are the only European club being firm in their interest, outside of the contract offer from PSG, which is unlikely to be actioned by either the club or the player.

“It’s a tricky situation. It may come as a surprise to some, but there’s genuinely not a lot of chatter about interest from Premier League clubs. We know that Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of his, but it’s hard to realistically see Manchester City wanting to accommodate a 36-year-old Messi.

“A lot of Premier League clubs’ recruitment now focuses on younger players who can offer value in the future, and it’s clear there’s no future sale value in Messi – you might get a good year or two out of him, at the absolute best, but personally I think the rigours of Premier League football, two domestic cups, and the Champions League, would be very difficult for Messi to sustain at this stage in his career. It’s already been tricky enough for him to transition from La Liga to Ligue 1, which is not dissimilar to the Premier League in terms of physicality.

“Obviously in terms of finances, a deal for Messi could be possible for a number of English clubs, but I’m not currently aware of any of them taking a look at Messi, they’re looking for much younger talent. So I think Messi could find himself in a similar situation to Ronaldo, with offers coming in from clubs in the Champions League, but not necessarily ones of the stature that he would want for himself.”

The post Exclusive: How Messi’s transfer situation is similar to Ronaldo’s before he left Man United appeared first on CaughtOffside.


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