Betting on Lionel Messi’s Next Team

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| January 14, 2021 11:27 am PDT
Which Team Will Lionel Messi Play for Next?

Lionel Messi put soccer clubs around the world on red alert when he requested a transfer away from Barcelona last year.

Of course, the Argentine eventually chose to stay at Camp Nou for the 2020/21 season. But with Messi now free to speak to clubs outside of Spain about leaving Barcelona at the end of the current campaign, rumors regarding his future continue to circulate.

There are a number of obvious destinations for the 33-year-old. A reunion with former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City seems logical, while a move to PSG – now led by compatriot Mauricio Pochettino – is another option.

A number of MLS clubs are also in the conversation, although nobody would be overly surprised if Messi chose to end his career as a one-club man and see out his playing days in Catalonia.

Did you know that you can bet on which team Lionel Messi will play for next? Below, I look at the bookmakers’ odds and discuss the favorites to secure his signature.

Lionel Messi’s Next Club Betting Odds

Manchester City 4.50
PSG 7.00
Inter Miami 15.00
Inter Milan 21.00
New York City 26.00

As you can see, Manchester City (4.50) is the favorite with all the top online betting sites to acquire Messi’s services at the end of the season.

French giant PSG (7.00) is also among the frontrunners, with Serie A side Inter Milan (21.00) one of the outsiders.

MLS franchises Inter Miami (15.00) and New York City (26.00) are the two American teams thought to be in contention for Messi’s signature.

Can Guardiola Lure Messi to Man City?

In my eyes, Manchester City is the most likely destination for Messi – and the bookies seem to agree.

When last year’s saga broke, the English side was in pole position to sign the Argentine. It was reported that both Messi and Guardiola were keen to renew their partnership at the Etihad Stadium, so that is still likely to be the case.

The pair spent four hugely successful seasons together at Barcelona, securing three La Liga titles and two Champions League triumphs between 2008 and 2012.

Needless to say, the prospect of Messi and Guardiola joining forces once more is tantalizing.

The forward will be 34 by the end of the season, yet he still has so much to offer. With all due respect, Ligue 1, Serie A, and MLS don’t have the same standing as the EPL. If Messi still wants to play at the highest level, a move to England would surely be preferable.

As well as Guardiola, Man City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain, chief executive Ferran Soriano, and chief football operations officer Omar Berrada have all previously worked for Barcelona.

With so many ties between the two clubs, it feels like Man City has the upper hand over other teams when it comes to signing Messi.

Would Messi Move to PSG?

When big players become available for transfer, PSG invariably gets mentioned as a possible destination. But with Maurico Pochettino’s recent arrival in Paris, the likelihood of Messi joining the French champions has definitely increased.

Don’t get me wrong – Thomas Tuchel is a great manager. However, the opportunity to play under fellow Argentine Pochettino is surely more appealing to Messi.

In addition to the lure of his compatriot, Messi has repeatedly expressed his desire to reunite with former team-mate Neymar. He has previously spoken about wanting Barca to re-sign the Brazilian, but he could now team up with Neymar in France.

But would Messi view Ligue 1 as a realistic landing place?

Well, PSG itself is a very attractive option. But in my opinion, Messi doesn’t need to prove himself in France. If you look at it from that perspective, a move to the Premier League makes more sense.

Still, if there is one club in the world that can afford Messi’s wages, it is PSG. For that reason, you cannot write them off.

Does Messi to Inter Miami Make Sense?

With Messi recently indicating his wish to play and live in America, there will understandably be plenty of MLS teams hoping to lure the megastar Stateside.

Clubs like LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls have a history of attracting some of the world’s leading soccer stars to America. But right now, Inter Miami is the bookmakers’ MLS frontrunner.

The new franchise – owned by David Beckham – has only played one season in Major League Soccer. However, the club is already ahead of the majority of MLS teams when it comes to making big-name signings.

With a network of high-profile links across the globe, Beckham could provide Messi with the perfect route into Major League Soccer.

Having snatched Blaise Matuidi and Gonzala Higuain from Juventus last year, the Herons clearly have what it takes to compete in the transfer market.

Will Inter Milan Sign Messi?

In an attempt to return to the summit of European soccer, Inter Milan has not been afraid to spend big over the past few years.

The likes of Romelu Lukaku (€74m) and Achraf Hakimi (€40m) have been signed for mega money in recent times, meaning the Nerazzurri now boasts one of the strongest squads in the world.

With ex-Barcelona stars Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez also calling San Siro home, Messi would be able to team up with some familiar faces in Milan,

But when you take everything into consideration, Messi moving to Inter doesn’t really make too much sense. I mean, there are no obvious links there.

Sure, with a certain Portuguese megastar at Juventus, the possibility of renewing his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo may be tempting for Messi. But I can’t see that being a deciding factor.

At 21.00, Messi to Inter is a longshot.

Messi to New York City?

David Villa. Frank Lampard. Andrea Pirlo. Lionel Messi?

Since arriving on the MLS scene, New York City has made some of the biggest acquisitions in the league’s history. Could Messi be the next – and certainly the biggest – name on the list?

Despite what the bookmakers think, I would probably put NYC FC ahead of Inter Miami in the race to sign Messi.

The franchise is owned by City Football Group, which also controls Manchester City. With the English club seemingly in pole position to snatch the Argentine, a move to New York either before or after joining Man City wouldn’t be a shock.

Of course, the Big Apple is also an attractive destination to live. Yes, Messi will put soccer first when making his decision. But it is important to think about the other factors that he will have to take into consideration.

With fellow countrymen Valentin Castellanos and Maxi Moralez already belonging to the Boys in Blue, the prospect of Messi joining an all-Argentine forward line is hugely exciting.

Closing Thoughts

When Messi announced that he wanted to leave Barcelona last year, the soccer world went into meltdown. And at the end of the 2020/21 season, all eyes will be on the Argentine star once again.

For all we know, Messi could choose to stay at Camp Nou. After all, he has been there since he was 13. Barca’s off-field issues have been well documented, but if they are resolved, I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees out his career in Spain.

However, from a neutral perspective, it would be exciting to see Messi play for a different team and operate in a different league.

Right now, Man City looks like the obvious choice. But with PSG in contention and Major League Soccer another option, the 33-year-old could easily land in France or America.

Cristiano Ronaldo could also be on the move at the end of the season. Click here to see where Messi’s old rival might end up.

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