With the Champions League in full swing, Manchester City are facing Messi in a PSG shirt. Manchester City have long been rivals in the race to sign Messi, but when the opportunity arose, the club dropped the ball. Re-discover the story of Messi and Manchester City and after reading why not visit Casumo, an online casino that also offers sports betting? You may experience the thrill of the Champions League even more intensely thanks to betting.
2016 : Guardiola's arrival sparks renewed interest in Messi
Pep Guardiola has arrived in Manchester with a dream in his wake : the re-establishment of his partnership with Lionel Messi. In order to make the fantasy more credible, City appointed an organisational structure that was reminiscent of the Barça of the great era. Pep Guardiola, for example, but also Txiki Begiristain, who was appointed sporting director of the Manchester club in 2012 after having held the same position in Catalonia under Laporta, and Ferran Soriano, the new executive director after having managed Catalonia's finances. In short, Manchester City was beginning its charm offensive, while refuting any secret approach. "Messi is the best player in the world," Soriano stated in 2016. If he wants to come to City one day, we will open the door wide." "As soon as Guardiola arrived, they tried to sign him and always had a concrete interest in him," confirmed BlueMoonPodcast host David Mooney.
2020 : The dream at the fingertips
So, at regular intervals, the Messi-City rumour resurfaces. In 2017, faced with insistent rumours, Barça went all-in to offer a four-year extension to their Argentine genius.
Messi and City were at a turning point. Humiliated during the Final 8 and at odds with his management, the Argentinian player broke away. After another early defeat in Lisbon, at the hands of a club of much lower standing, City saw the Messi deal as an opportunity to boost an already high-spending but still ineffective project in Europe. On 25 August, the famous burofax landed on Josep Maria Bartoméu's desk and the scenario began to unfold. An exfiltration in proper form with the promise of an XXL contract spread over five years, the last two of which will be devoted to conquering New York via Manchester City, awaited Messi. The sources were formal: at the end of August 2020, City was the only destination desired by the Argentine's clan.
But Barca played their legal card and force Messi to respect his contract. It was a blow to City, who mobilised their forces in a futile battle. In March 2021, the election of Joan Laporta, who was reputedly close to La Pulga, was a game-changer. At that point, Messi changed his mind and wanted to stay at Barça. The City officials were cooled, they kept in touch but they also moved on to other leads as they expected him to stay. When Messi ended up being free, there was a real gap that City did not seek to fill.
Manchester City's DNA : creating supertars rather than buying them
About Messi, the PSG was moving forward under cover. There were contacts as early as January, when Messi was six months away from the end of his contract. In the end, it could be said that Manchester City pulled out at the most decisive moment.
What followed was this finally strange summer with more than 100 million invested on a single player : Jack Grealish. Not quite the same calibre as Messi. Not quite the same age and expectations either. In a way, Messi never really fit in with City's plan. The DNA was never really about buying huge superstars but creating them, like Yaya Toure or Sergio Aguero.
It was a reasonable argument, but one that almost fell apart a few weeks later when the rumour of Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival at the Etihad took hold. But if City did consider the option briefly, after a proposal from Jorge Mendes, it was only because the Kane deal had fallen through a few days earlier. The mercato is a game of dominoes, as is well known. And, on this occasion, it was Paris who was the last one standing.