F.C. Barcelona fans, shield your eyes.
Lionel Messi wants out of Barcelona following the club's disappointing finish to the 2019-20 season, a campaign where the team went trophyless for the first time in 12 years. Barcelona confirmed to ESPN they have been notified about Messi's decision. Messi, 33, joined the club's youth academy when he was 13 years old, and has not played anywhere else. Barcelona, literally, has been his whole life. And now the brilliant Argentinian midfielder, the greatest player of his generation, wants to leave the only soccer home he's ever known.
With the world's best soccer player potentially on the move, it's worth wondering which clubs will make a run at the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Let's take a look.
Rumors have already surfaced that the club is monitoring Messi's situation closely. On the pitch, Messi would fit in quite well alongside Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.
City has developed a reputation for being big spenders over the past decade, so it wouldn't be a shock to see them make a run after Messi. But, the club's spending has come with certain calculations. The team has never spent more than $20 million on a player over the age of 28. Messi is five years older than that.
The French powerhouse came just one goal away from winning the Champions League Final on Sunday against Bayern Munich, the furthest the club has ever gone in that competition.
PSG already has two of the best attacking players in the world in Neymar - Messi's former teammate at Barcelone, who was left shattered and in tears after the loss to Bayern - and young French superstar Kylian Mbappe. Adding Messi to the mix could be the piece that puts PSG in the category for best team in the world. It would be must-watch soccer in the Champions League next season.
If Messi has any desire to play in Italy, there are only two clubs that seem to be a realistic fit: Juventus and Inter Milan.
Juventus has been the Italian power for years, winning nine straight Serie A titles. After battling Cristiano Ronaldo for years in La Liga between Barcelona and Real Madrid, could the two rivals actually team up together to conclude their careers? That is a mind-blowing possibility.
Continuing the Serie A theme, Inter Milan has the money to make a run after the 33-year-old Argentinian star. However, it's hard to imagine Messi leaving a storied club like Barcelona for Inter, a team that has not won much of anything over the past several years. It's the second-biggest club in Italy right now (settle down A.C. Milan fans) but maybe not big enough for the likes of Messi. That's the cold, hard truth. Italian soccer isn't what it once was and even Ronaldo's star has dimmed some after the moves from England (Manchester United) to Spain (Real Madrid) to now Italy later in his career.
Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but the Manchester United brand might be even bigger.
On the field, Man U is flooded with young talent, and Messi could be a perfect fit as a talented, veteran presence to help return the club to its winning ways. If the club was willing to spend the money, and the interest was mutual from Messi's camp, this could be a realistic option. There are few clubs in the world that can match Barcelona's cache. United does. If Messi wants to stay on the biggest stage, this would be a good match.
Check back in three years for this one.
This is just me trying to speak this into existence. Carry on.