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Manchester City are reportedly confident of being at the front of the queue for the transfer of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
This is according to a report from the Telegraph, which also quotes quotes from Barça’s presidential candidate Agusti Benedito to ESPN, in which he casts great doubts about Messi’s future at the Camp Nou.
“Keeping Messi would be the best news for the club, but I’m not very optimistic,” said Benedito.
“Given the situation at the club, I think it is very important that he stay at Barça, with the understanding that he understands the next two years ahead. [could be difficult].
“He’s been here for 20 years, he’s a Barcelona fan and I think he’s sensitive to the situation.
“He has given us so much in the same way that Barcelona has given him a lot and it is time for all of us to roll up our sleeves.
“I would have liked him to say in his interview the other week that his wish is to stay at the club, but he didn’t and now we have to wait and see. The truth is that I am pessimistic.
“Remember that in August he said that he wanted to leave after 20 years and now he still has not clarified what he wants to do. The most likely result I see is that he will leave us in the summer. “
Messi would be an incredible signing for City if he can pull it off, with the Argentine widely regarded as perhaps the greatest player of all time.
Even if the 33-year-old hasn’t been in his prime so far this season and would arrive in the twilight of his career, City surely wouldn’t say no to this big-name addition.
Messi enjoyed the best form of his career with City manager Pep Guardiola when he was in charge of Barcelona, and seeing the pair reunited in the Premier League would be something extraordinary.
Barcelona fans will surely expect these Benedito quotes to be too pessimistic and of course it is worth noting that other presidential candidates may feel differently or have a better strategy to persuade Messi to stay.