Barcelona presidential candidate predicts Messi's next club
La Liga Santander – FC Barcelona v Alaves – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – August 18, 2018 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal [REUTERS/Albert Gea]

Lionel Messi has his heart set on leaving Barcelona, and the man who hopes to succeed Jose Maria Bartomeu as president reckons the Argentine is off to the Premier League

Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa believes Lionel Messi will join Manchester City amid a ‘disaster’ at the Nou Camp.

City are favourites to secure the services of Messi who has made his feelings clear to the Catalan giants that he wants to leave.

The Argentine cut a solemn figure as Barca were humbled 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, which led to the dismissal of boss Quique Setien and the subsequent appointment of Ronald Koeman as his successor.

Now it appears Messi could be the next to leave, despite spending almost two decades with the Blaugrana and plundering a mind-blowing 634 goals in 731 appearances.

Current president Josep Maria Bartomeu is rumoured to be a big part of Messi’s decision to depart ahead of elections in March.

And Freixa, who is hopeful of succeeding him, believes Bartomeu has presided over a ‘disaster’.

Barcelona presidential candidate predicts Messi's next club
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Champions League round of 16, second leg soccer match between Barcelona and Napoli at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. [AP Photo/Joan Monfort]

He told Goal: “I have heard from several sources, the decision by the player has matured over several years and is irrevocable. I don’t think there’s any going back.

“Messi is a player who longs for maximum success. He alone cannot achieve maximum success, he needs a team to do it. He doesn’t have that.

“That worries him. His decision is due to the negative sporting development in recent years.

“Bartomeu is certainly complicit in the situation because a president also has the task of building a close relationship with the most important pillars of the team.

“Be it to the coach, be it to the captains. He has not succeeded in doing this over the years. He couldn’t prevent Messi from seeing a change of club as the only alternative for himself.

This is a disaster. However, there is never a single culprit.

“I think City is likely. Messi had his most dazzling years in Barcelona with Pep. It would only make sense if both would work together again.

“Like almost all English clubs, City also has the financial means to build a team that can win anything.”

 

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