What if Lionel Messi played in the Premier League?
Lionel Messi – manifestation of magic on a football pitch, paradigm of grace in a physical game, ambassador for the beauty of this game that we all love. The only way Lionel Messi has divided opinion is regarding whether he is just the best we have seen or the best we have ever had.
Winding the clock years back to the summer of 2003, a 15-year-old Messi was pondering whether to join a young Cesc Fabregas on his way to Arsenal – reports claimed Arsenal were unable to purchase accommodation for his family. Wenger had refuted those claims, suggesting Messi was simply more comfortable in Barcelona.
Whatever the truth may have been, just imagine if the outcome of that saga had turned out different. Our next "What-if" feature takes a look at the state of world football had Lionel Messi played in the Premier League.
#1 Arsenal would win UCL
There was a time when the name Arsene Wenger evoked the same aura of success and invincibility as a certain Alex Ferguson. Having led Arsenal through a period of success in the 2000s, the memorable highlights being the invincibles and the Champions league final against Barcelona in 2006, no one could have imagined what the road ahead had in store for Wenger.
It is easy to imagine the galvanising effect a player of Messi's ilk would have had in continuing that era of domination and success. In particular, the departure of Theirry Henry would not have created ripples through Wenger's squad – in essence, Messi would have been replacing one legend in Henry instead of another in Ronaldinho.
With a 19-year-old Messi primed for a few seasons of further development, Arsenal might also have managed to retain some of their world class talents from departing for greener pastures. Thus, with the magic of Messi to sprinkle on the solid foundations of a Champions League runner-up season (2005-06), Wenger might have managed to grab hold of the UCL title that has eluded him till date.