Lionel Messi to New York City FC? Yep, Lionel Messi to New York City FC could actually be a thing, but only after Lionel Messi to Manchester City happens first.
A report from ESPN states that any contract at Manchester City may well include a clause that allows Messi, 33, to move straight to New York City FC when he wants to.
News broke on Tuesday that Messi, 33, has handed in notice to Barcelona saying he will end his contract this summer. After a 19-year stay at Barcelona, Messi has a clause in his contract which he can activate at the end of each season so he can leave for free.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola has reportedly talked to Lionel Messi and told him he would be at the Etihad Stadium next season, and Messi is said to be keen to play alongside his good friend Sergio Aguero as they try and win Man City’s first-ever UEFA Champions League title together.
The report also states that Messi would be offered a role with the City Football Group as an ambassador, so he would also be set for his post-playing career.
Part of the global City Football Group, the connection between Man City, New York City and Melbourne City in particular has been strong over the years and this would make sense. Messi, in essence, would set up his career and have a clear plan for the next 5-6 years. Three seasons in Man City and three season at New York City FC would take him to the age of 39.
He has yet to activate that clause, obviously, but now things are different. Barcelona have just had their first trophyless season since 2007-08 and with Quique Setien fired after their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, new boss Ronald Koeman has a huge rebuild on his hands.
It always seemed likely that Lionel Messi to MLS would happen one day but that day seemed a long way away. It probably still, but these reports suggest that Messi coming to a stadium near you in a few years’ time could happen.