Lionel Messi may be 4/6 to play in the Premier League before his retirement, but if the record breaker is to quit Barcelona, the only foreseeable option for a move is back to his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina.
Messi stated in the summer that he could never see himself leaving the Camp Nou, having been at Barcelona since the age of 11.
He has come up through La Masia at Barcelona alongside teammates including Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas and it is players that have been brought through the youth ranks that make up a large portion of the present team.
This togetherness and appreciation breeds loyalty and has been a large contributor to the success Barcelona have had in the last five seasons.
Messi will almost certainly have been the focus of substantial offers in the past, especially in 2005 when starring at the Fifa World Youth Championships for Argentina and not guaranteed significant first-team opportunities at Barcelona under Frank Rijkaard.
However, on that occasion he was convinced to stay and he will not be lured by the availability of more money elsewhere like others in the modern game.
Therefore, the 3/1 on offer that he ends his career at Barcelona is worthy of consideration.
If he was to depart, he spent a strong five years at Newell’s in his home city of Rosario before moving to Spain and there have been previous indications that he would be keen to return for a season when in the twilight of his career.
Manchester City have been keen to profit from Barcelona’s transformation in the last decade and have recruited Ferran Soriano into the role of chief executive and Txiki Begiristain as director of football.
The writing may already be on the wall for Roberto Mancini after Man City’s second successive Champions League failure and even if he delivers the Premier League again, which can be backed at 2/1, this may not be enough to save him.
Pep Guardiola has unsurprisingly been tipped to take over and if he arrives and brings some Barca stars with him, there is the slight chance that Messi may change his outlook.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.