Manchester City will be front of the queue to sign football icon Lionel Messi should the Argentine great decide to leave Barcelona, believes Darren Bent.
The former Premier League star reckons the pint-sized maestro would love to be reunited with his ‘dad’ Pep Guardiola at the Etihad, with reports claiming Messi wants to leave the Nou Camp this summer.
According to several reports in Spain, Messi has told the Barca hierarchy he wants out ‘immediately’ following their humiliating Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
The Catalans were thumped 8-2 in their quarter-final this week – Barcelona’s heaviest European defeat in the club’s history.
Messi looked devastated after the game, and the Argentine has reportedly become frustrated by the lack of progress made at the Nou Camp in recent years – and is said to feel ‘isolated’ at the club due to their Champions League and LaLiga title failings.
Barcelona haven’t made it to a Champions League final since they last lifted the cup back in 2014/15, and failed to defend their Spanish title as El Clasico rivals Real Madrid were crowned LaLiga champions this season.
Messi is said the be assessing his options as he considers ending his 19-year career as a Barcelona player, and Bent believes he could make a stunning move to the Premier League.
“I could see Lionel Messi going to Manchester City,” the former striker said on the Sports Breakfast.
“Man City aren’t the only team that could afford him, PSG could as well, but when you talk about the relationship between him and Pep…
“Pep still now always talks glowingly about Lionel Messi and him being the best player ever. He even spoke about him after their Champions League exit.
“I can’t see him leaving Barcelona, I just can’t see it happening, but if he does, I could see him at Manchester City.
“Pep loves him, he’s like his son!”