Man City and PSG to Reportedly Battle for Lionel Messi this Spring

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When Pep Guardiola was hired in 2016, Manchester City was eight years into their Abu Dhabi United Group rebuild/world domination project. The Santpedor native had already won the Champions League, three Bundesliga titles and three La Liga titles. 

He won the Premier League twice in his first three seasons, and they may be champions-elect this term. However, as the 20/21 season began he still had two main objectives to achieve at City. The first is to get the greatest player he’s ever coached, Lionel Messi over to Manchester.

(The other is to win the Champions League, which we’ll cover when their UCL campaign resumes later this month)

City has tried to acquire Messi a few times, and in 2020 they came a little bit closer than in their previous pursuits. According to an ESPN report today, they’ll be back once more, in March or April to sound out the situation. 

The ESPN FC article states:

City will bide their time and see how the situation develops, even if PSG have taken a different approach, an approach which sources at Barca have told ESPN is completely the wrong way to try and seduce Messi.

“PSG are making a mistake with the strategy they’re using,” one source said. “Leo doesn’t like all that noise in the media and even less the type of comments [which have been made].”

lionel messi

Given the Argentine winger’s contract situation at Barcelona, 2021 could be their best chance yet. He’s out of contract in June and has already been free to negotiate with other clubs since Jan. 1.

Messi is the ultimate “get” for City, even more than Pep was when they signed him. Guardiola and Messi are the coach and player soccer dynamic duo in the same way that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are to football.

One of the biggest MCFC critics out there is the President of La Liga, Javier Tebas. He feels, as do many others that City, PSG as well are not competing on a level playing field with everyone else in football.

“I have criticized what they do so many times,” Tebas said in late 2020 during the last Messi pursuit.

“Doing it one more time makes no difference. City is neither affected by COVID or pandemics or anything because they are financed differently and it is impossible to fight against that.”

Tebas also took a shot at Man City last summer, when their UEFA ban, for allegedly violating Financial Fair Play rules, got overturned. Set to be banned from European competition for two years, City would be left out of the continental tournaments for a grand total of none.

“We all know what City do,” Tebas said.

“When they were punished [by UEFA originally], there was no surprise among the majority of us involved in European football.”

“I don’t want to say [people were] happy, but at last there was a sense of justice against these big state-owned clubs, the other being Paris Saint-Germain,” Tebas said.

Tebas hit the nail on the head, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are on a different plan than everyone else. Capitalism is a system in which the winners can win very big, often more so than all other competing players combined. 

However, it’s a different system entirely when capitalism enables a set of circumstances where no one else can even compete.

The essence of sports is reflective of what makes the concept of capitalism so appealing- “pure competition.”

As this transfer rumor ramps up this spring and into summer, expect a lot more public criticism of the two clubs chasing Lionel Messi.

Tebas will most likely speak out, but there will be plenty of other strong voices expressing their dissatisfaction as well.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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