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Lionel Messi: Saudi Arabia or Man City favourite destination, Barcelona just an option

Lionel Messi: Saudi Arabia or Man City favourite destination, Barcelona just an option

Lionel Messi is set to end his time at Paris Saint-Germain this summer but despite rumours of a return to Barcelona, they aren’t favourites to sign him.

It’s been a strange couple of years for Messi since he left Barcelona after 21 years at the club to move to France, in part because of their financial problems.

The seven time Ballon d’Or winner was expected to absolutely destroy Ligue 1 considering its perceived lack of quality behind the club he was playing for.

However it’s not really worked out like that and it came as a surprise to few when it was announced on Thursday he won’t be staying in the French capital beyond this summer.

Recent weeks and months have seen him be booed by his own fans and suspended by the club for taking a trip to Saudi Arabia when the team had training.

With his departure expected he’d been heavily linked with a return to the Nou Camp, as long as his former club could pay the bills.

That will be more difficult if they end up getting banned by UEFA from entering next season’s Champions League. But even if that doesn’t happen it might not mean the return of their former star.

According to the bookies, the 35-year-old is more likely to sign for a club in Saudi Arabia than anyone else, with Betfair giving ‘Any Saudi Pro League team’ odds of 8/11.

Messi’s long time rival Cristiano Ronaldo moved to the Middle East earlier in the year for a huge sum and the PSG ace has been linked with following him ever since.

He could obviously make similar money by heading out to Saudi Arabia, especially with Karim Benzema rumoured to also make the move and equal his former Real Madrid teammate’s wages.

Barca remain second favourites to be the World Cup winner’s next team, with the Spanish champions coming in at odds of 11/8.

There had been some claims that they would do a deal with MLS side Inter Miami which saw both sides get the forward, and the Americans are 5/1.

Not signing for any club is next on the list at 7/1 and a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and the chance to team up with Erling Haaland, is 12/1.

A return to Newell’s Old Boys or moves to Chelsea, Newcastle United, Bayern Munich or Manchester United are seen as big long shots.

 

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