Silly season just ramped up a bit.
In a blockbuster report from ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez and Moises Llorens, legendary footballer Lionel Messi could finally be moving out of Barcelona after 16 years to take on a new challenge. His purported destination — Premier League giants Manchester City.
But that’s not why we’re gathered here today. Oh no, it’s the reported clause that could come with that Man City contract. Which states that if Messi joins the Cityzens, he’ll also be joining none other than New York City FC after three Premier League seasons.
Man City are weighing up offering Lionel Messi a long-term contract that would see him move to partner club NYCFC after three years in the Premier League, several sources have told @RodrigoFaez & @moillorens: https://t.co/4gT1mNHN78 pic.twitter.com/GLsR85z7gg— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 26, 2020
I shouldn’t have to tell you why this is a big deal. But I’ll do it anyway.
NYCFC has seen it’s share of legends call the Big Apple home since it’s inaugural season. Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and of course David Villa — all of these players were incredible talents and were at one point considered to be of the world’s elite footballers. But Messi goes beyond just an exceptional player. The man is a generational talent who is considered by many to be one of, if not the best player to ever step out onto a football pitch. And any contractual obligation that would see the legendary Argentinian don the NYCFC kit is absolutely a move you should get behind.
If the rumors turn out to be true, Messi would spend three seasons with Manchester City before moving to New York City at the age of 36. Some may consider this to be too old. But I disagree.
Upon joining the LA Galaxy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was 36 and undoubtedly had his best years ahead of him. But despite his age, the eccentric Swede still had to the quality to not only score 52 goals in two seasons in MLS, but again go to Europe and feature for AC Milan in Italy.
I don’t need to tell you this. But if Zlatan can do it at 36, why couldn’t Messi who is undoubtedly a better player?
Not only does NYCFC stand to get a huge on-field boost should this move come to fruition, but the financial benefits would be through the roof. Whether people are Messi/Barcelona supporters or not, fans will come in droves just to catch a glimpse of one of the best to ever do it. Yankee Stadium — should that still be City’s home in three years — will be filled to its near 50,000-seat capacity. Local jersey sales will struggle to keep up with demand.
And not only that. Budding young talents and accomplished footballers the world over will definitely view New York City — the place that Messi once called home — a desirable destination.
Messi’s potential move to Manchester City comes on the heels of Barcelona’s embarrassing exit from the UEFA Champions League in which they were easily dispatched by eventual champions Bayern Munich in a 8-2 drubbing. The Argentine joined Barca as a youngster in 2001 before making his first team debut in 2004. Since then, Messi has made 485 appearances for the Catalan giants, scoring a whopping 444 goals in that period while also scoring 70 goals in 138 appearances with Argentina’s national team.
The transfer fee paid by Manchester City could reportedly be between €100 and €150 million should Messi be “unable to force an exit unilaterally.”