Former Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes the Etihad would be ‘the best place’ for Lionel Messi if he decides to leave Barcelona.
The Argentinian superstar has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp ever since handing in a transfer request.
He has since taken it back and declared he is willing to remain in Catalonia, but it’s unclear right now where his future lies.
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One potential destination is City. Club officials were in talks with Messi earlier this year about a transfer which ultimately failed.
Zabaleta has now backed their pursuit of Messi. Speaking to Stadium Astro, his former teammate said: “It is sad to see Messi in that situation.
“I never thought he would be in a final year of his contract at Barcelona. The team is not playing well and it seems that he is not enjoying his football. We will see what happens with Messi at the end of the season.
“He has a close friend in Sergio [Aguero] at Man City and has worked with Pep [Guardiola] at Barcelona before, so they know each other. Some of the people on the board also know Messi.
“If Messi decides that he wants to leave Barcelona, that he wants to go and play in a different league, in a different country, of course Man City would be one of them. Every player would like to have an experience in the Premier League.
“The Premier League is the best in the world and maybe he wants to go and enjoy a few years there.
“Man City would be the best place for him because he knows people there. I would like to see Messi, if he decides to move on to another club, in England as it is a lovely place to play football. He needs to enjoy football again because at the minute it seems like he is not enjoying it all.”
Messi’s contract is set to expire in June 2021, meaning he can speak to interested clubs from January onwards. City will likely be at the front of the queue for negotiations.