Pep Guardiola can rebuild his Manchester City team around Lionel Messi if the Argentine gets his wish and leaves FC Barcelona, former Nou Camp great Rivaldo says.
Messi’s lawyers informed FC Barcelona on Tuesday that the Argentine wanted to take up a release clause in his contract which could allow him to leave for nothing.
But FC Barcelona has insisted the release clause has expired.
They said the six-times Ballon d’Or winner can only leave if a rival club is willing to pay a 700 million euro (825 million dollars) buyout clause.
Rivaldo hopes the two parties can reach a compromise.
But, while he would be sad to see Messi leave FC Barcelona after almost two decades, he thinks Manchester City would be a good choice.
The Argentina captain has helped them win 10 La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League trophies.
“FC Barcelona don’t want to lose their best player for nothing. So, they’ll try to convince the player to stay or agree to let him leave if they receive a good offer from another club,” Rivaldo said.
“It will be a sad ending for Messi’s story with FC Barcelona if the things remain this way, but this is football and sometimes things don’t run according to our expectations.
“Manchester City could be Messi’s best option as his next club. He’s 33 but his quality and talent are both unquestionable and I think he still has a few more years at the top.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has lost his Spanish playmaker David Silva.
He now has a big job on his hands trying to close the gap on Liverpool who won the English Premier League (EPL) by 18 points.
Rivaldo believes Guardiola, who enjoyed trophy-laden years as FC Barcelona manager with Messi in his pomp, would love to have the opportunity to work with him again.
“He has deep knowledge of Messi’s abilities and will find a solution to quickly incorporate him into the team and get the best from him,” Brazilian Rivaldo, who was at FC Barcelona from 1997 to 2002, said.
“I even imagine Guardiola building the rest of his team around Messi.
“His talent can make the difference at any place and at any time, and I’m sure he could produce match-winning performances in the Premier League.”
Rivaldo says new Barca manager Ronald Koeman will build from “almost nothing” if Messi and Luis Suarez both leave.
“I hope he gets time because it could take a while to get Barca back to their full power,” he said.