Former Argentina international Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi would be a perfect fit for Premier League outfit Manchester City should he exit the Camp Nou in the summer.
Zabaleta, who won six major trophies during his nine-year stay at the Etihad, has urged Lionel Messi to quit Barcelona for Manchester City, claiming the 33-year-old should experience the thrill of the Premier League.
Messi started his career at Barcelona and has enjoyed a glittering and trophy-laden stay at the Camp Nou.
However, the 33-year-old runs out of contract at the end of the season and has been liked with a move to both Premier League leaders Manchester City and French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Amidst heavy exit rumors swirling around the Argentine forward, he opted to stay mute until the end of the season before making a decision on his future.
Speaking via Goal, former Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta has urged his compatriot to favor a move to Manchester City ahead of PSG should he exit Barcelona.
"If Lionel Messi decides to leave Barcelona and he wants to play in the best league then he has to experience the Premier League for himself," the former Manchester City man said.
"It is something that will interest him – because every player I know always asks me what the Premier League is like.
"Leo has been in La Liga for so many years and I think it would be a huge attraction for him to experience English football. And Manchester City offer the perfect conditions."
A move to the Premier League club would also see Messi reunite with former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola, who guided the Blaugrana to the treble in his first year in the dugout.
"He knows Pep very well, he knows [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [chief executive] Ferran Soriano – and also Kun Aguero," Zabaleta added.
"It would be a big decision if Leo leaves Barcelona. But if that's what he wants then it would be a good thing for him to go to a club that has people already there who can help him to settle.
"When you have been at one club for so long, moving somewhere new can be very strange.
"I am sure clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus would also be interested in signing him, but it is my opinion that City would be the best place to go after Barcelona."
Messi continues to inspire Barcelona amidst exit rumours
Lionel Messi has been linked with a move away from Barcelona in the summer, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City keen on his signature.
However, the swirling transfer speculation has not affected the Argentine’s performances, as he continues to drive the Catalan club forward.
On Saturday, Messi inspired Ronaldo Koeman’s men to an emphatic 5-1 victory over Deportivo Alaves.
He scored a goal in each half and set up Trincao’s second goal of the night to fire Barcelona into second place in the La Liga table.
The 33-year-old currently tops Barcelona’s scoring chart with 15 La Liga goals in 20 appearances, while Antoine Griezmann follows with just six goals.
Barcelona take on French champions Paris Saint-Germain in their next outing and Ronald Koeman will hope his star man can inspire his side to victory.Published 15 Feb 2021, 04:22 IST