Lionel Messi Still Open to Joining Man City With ‘Pathway’ to MLS on Offer

By Tom Gott | Nov 15, 2020, 10:30 AM GMT

Lionel Messi is interested in a move to MLS | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi still sees joining Manchester City as an intriguing option, as it would open up a move to Major League Soccer’s New York City once he decides to start bringing his career to a close.

After pushing for a move away from Camp Nou last summer, Messi’s future remains up in the air. His contract is set to expire at the end of the current campaign, and the Argentine is waiting to see what the club’s new president has planned for Barcelona before making a decision on his future.

Messi was eager to leave Camp Nou last summer | Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

With the door neither open nor closed, a move to City cannot be ruled out just yet, with the Citizens seen as the most-likely landing spot for Messi if he does choose to walk away from Barcelona at the end of the season.

According to Eurosport, one of the reasons Messi is so open to joining City is that it would provide a natural pathway to MLS somewhere down the line, with Messi open to the idea of ending his career over in America.

City would be willing to allow Messi to move to their MLS affiliate, New York City FC, after a few years at the Etihad Stadium, and Messi sees that as positive.

— New York City FC (@NYCFC) November 9, 2020

El Chiringuito go on to add that Messi would only agree to move to City if two conditions are met: he wants Pep Guardiola to be given a new contract and he wants striker Sergio Aguero to extend his stay at the club as well.

Like Messi, both Guardiola and Aguero’s contracts expire at the end of the season, and there has yet to be any indication that either will put pen to paper on fresh terms.

It would be an expensive move for City, but losing Messi could even be financially costly for Barcelona. According to ESPN, the Argentine is due €33m in the summer of 2021 as part of a pre-agreed loyalty bonus, and he’s due to pick up that cheque whether he stays at Camp Nou or not.

Messi is owed a huge loyalty bonus even if he leaves | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

It seems like this one could all come down to who comes in to replace former president Josep Maria Bartomeu in the upcoming elections, which will be held in early 2021.

Numerous candidates have already expressed a desire to sit down with Messi and convince him to stay, but the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is keeping an open mind to everything until a new president is officially confirmed.

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