Why buying Lionel Messi may not be all that

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It’s been several days since Lionel Messi dropped the bombshell that he has decided to leave Barcelona after 20 years at the club.

But at the time of writing, we still don’t know what his next move will be.

Will he be reunited with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City? Will he link up with Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain? Will he head to Serie A, MLS or even back to his native Argentina?

Wherever he goes, he will undoubtedly make his new club very happy. He is the best player in the world and arguably the greatest of all-time. This is news to nobody.

But signing Messi is not without its potential pitfalls.

For starters, he is going to cost A LOT of money. His Barcelona contract is said to be worth around €100m-per-year, plus getting him out of it would potentially cost a world record transfer fee on top if he’s unable to worm his way out of his Barça contract.

He’s worth it, of course. But what if he got a bad injury in his first training session and was forced to spend several months on the sidelines?

You sign Messi to score goals and win trophies, not just to sell shirts, and if he were unable to do that for whatever reason, it would be an awful lot of money wasted on nothing.

And as incredible as he still is, he’s 33 now and not getting any younger.

Cristiano Ronaldo was 33 when he left Real Madrid to join Juventus and though he’s since lifted two Serie A titles, the Bianconeri are no closer to winning the Champions League than they were when he joined.

Time eventually catches up with even those who seem superhuman and it’s fair to say Ronaldo’s brilliance has begun to deteriorate somewhat this season. The same will happen to Messi soon enough.

In fact, there are those who would argue that building a team around an ageing Galáctico has been a mistake on Juve’s part, and who knows whether bringing Messi to your club offers an ironclad guarantee of success.

Think of the pressure that having the world’s greatest player would put on a club.

Let’s imagine for a moment that Messi joins Manchester City, as seems the most likely scenario if he does leave Barcelona.

A team which lost nine Premier League games this season would be expected to win every single time they stepped onto the pitch, regardless of who they were up against.

When fans are allowed back into stadiums, Messi could expect a hostile atmosphere at every away ground he visited, and opposing players would no doubt be doing everything in their power to stop him.

It’s a dumb cliché that Messi couldn’t do it on a wet, windy night in Stoke because of course he could, but even the GOAT would need some time to adjust to a new club, a new country, a new language and a new climate.

And the accusation often levelled at City boss Guardiola is that he can only win the Champions League with Messi.

Well what if he gets Messi back but he still can’t win the Champions League? Where will that leave Guardiola’s reputation? And how will Messi feel if the final gamble of his career backfires?

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner hasn’t won the Champions League since 2015 and he surely wants to lift it at least one more time before he hangs up his boots.

If he doesn’t win it at City, or wherever he goes, there’s a good chance he could end up regretting his decision to leave Barça two or three years from now.

But, look, we’re not saying you shouldn’t buy Lionel Messi. If you can afford to buy Lionel Messi then you should definitely buy Lionel Messi.

All we’re saying is that you and he might not necessarily end up living happily ever after.


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