5 Premier League clubs who could've used Lionel Messi during a title push over the years
Any side would love Lionel Messi during a title push - here are five who really could've used him.
Lionel Messi is widely recognised as one of the best footballers of all time and is arguably the greatest player on the planet right now. His mere presence on a pitch can almost decide a game by itself – whether it’s due to some magic from the man himself or by the opposition focusing too much on him and ignoring his stellar teammates like Suarez and Neymar for Barcelona or Higuain and di Maria for Argentina.
Any club would love to have a man of Messi’s talents on their books but none more than a team chasing a league title. After all, we’ve seen plenty of times that individual brilliance can almost single-handedly win a league – look at Manchester United and Eric Cantona in 1995/96 for instance.
With this season’s Premier League title race just beginning to heat up there can be no doubt that both Chelsea and Tottenham would love to have Messi. There have, though, been closer races in the Premier League’s past – so here are my top five teams that really could’ve used Messi during their own push for the Premier League title.
#1 Manchester United, 1994/95
1994/95 was a controversial season in the Premier League for a multitude of reasons, but none more than the fate of Eric Cantona, who was abused by a fan following a red card at Crystal Palace in January. Cantona decided to leap into the crowd with a kung-fu kick aimed at the fan, which earned him a ban that lasted for the rest of the season.
Despite their signing of Newcastle’s goal machine Andy Cole, United just didn’t have enough firepower in their tank without Cantona to catch Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn Rovers, who led the table for most of the season, largely thanks to the goals scored by top striker Alan Shearer and the newly signed Chris Sutton, whose £5m signing broke the transfer record at the time.
If they’d had a player like Messi, though? There can be no doubt that the title would’ve gone to Alex Ferguson’s United. They only finished one point behind Blackburn anyway – even without King Eric – and would’ve won the title had they managed to defeat West Ham on the final day of the season, thanks to Blackburn’s loss at Liverpool. But they just couldn’t score a winner against the Hammers, despite the best efforts of Cole and a very young Paul Scholes.
Put Messi in a time machine and I think he’d shoot down the Hammers and send the title to Manchester.