Barcelona icon Lionel Messi is not the best in the world – Man City should avoid

Lionel Messi is not the best player in the world any more. Is it worth £500m to watch the end?

Don’t get me wrong. Messi was the greatest player on the planet. But times change. He’s a shadow of his former self now.

I don’t want to see Messi playing out his days like he did against Bayern Munich. That was retiring football.

It’s a massive risk for any club to sign him now for so much money because his best days are gone.

It doesn’t always come across on the TV but when you see him in real life, he literally stands around.

I’ve never seen anything like it. He strolls around looking around the stadium waiting for the ball to come to him.

He looks like a kid who’s been sent to a soccer school and doesn’t want to be there. It’s extraordinary.

Do you think he’d gotten away with that at the start of his career under Pep Guardiola when Barcelona went hunting in packs for the ball all over the pitch? No chance.

When he gets the ball, he can still do genius things with it. But he’s not the Messi of four or five years ago.

Back then he was unplayable. Unbelievable. But he is not the best player in the world any more. Cristiano Ronaldo is still putting up stellar numbers and he’s gone to challenge himself in another country.

There are other challengers now too. Kevin De Brunye is a phenomenal player. Robert Lewandowski has had an outstanding season in the Champions League.

Messi has said he wants to leave Barcelona. But how many clubs have been in for him so far?

A few years ago every club in the world would have been banging down the door. Manchester United could afford him because they would sell so many shirts around the world. And obviously City could.

But is it worth it? You would have to completely change your team to accommodate him and his wages would be astronomical. He can get away with strolling around all day for Barcelona.

But if he goes to City and top players like De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are working their socks off and he isn’t, will it cause unrest?

Is he serious about leaving or is it all a game? Why would you leave now to go to a much harder league at this stage of your career?

I don’t see it. I think he might struggle to find a club because he’s so expensive. And you’re paying for the end. There’s no doubt about that. He’s 33. He doesn’t have long left.

If he’s serious about leaving because he wants to challenge himself in another country and win the Champions League, good for him.

But he should be taking a massive pay cut then. He’s already one of the richest sportsmen in the world. He doesn’t need the money.

I just wonder if it’s all a game and he’s trying to win a power struggle at Barca. He might well end up not going anywhere.

The Community Shield is a benchmark for Arsenal to see how far behind Liverpool they still are.

They could beat Liverpool and win the game. Of course they could. But that’s what Arsenal are – a cup team.

On their day they can beat anybody. But how often is their day? Over 38 games it’s Liverpool who are consistent. That’s what Arsenal need to find. Consistency.

If Arsenal sign Gabriel Magalhaes I think it’s a big statement because of all the other clubs that were after him.

If Arsenal have managed to get him in without having Champions League football to offer, I think that’s huge.

  • Arsenal vs Liverpool Community Shield plans rocked as four stars quarantined

I like what Mikel Arteta is doing. But there are plenty of teams around them getting better as well.

Chelsea have bought amazingly well. They are going to close the gap on Liverpool next season.

It could be one of the tightest league title races in a long time. But Arsenal have a long way to go to get to that level.

That’s why this game is a benchmark for them. They need to see how far behind they are.

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Brighton are letting the fans back in for their game against Chelsea this weekend and I think that’s massive.

It’s a completely different game with fans. That atmosphere. The players feed off it. I think it’s massive to get them back.

There are a lot of pilot events like this coming up and you have to hope they all go well because we need supporters back in stadiums.

It’s huge. Fans make football. I don’t care what anybody says. It will make a massive difference to have them back properly every week.

When you’re a player, you’re blessed to play football. It’s the biggest buzz in the world to score a goal in front of thousands of fans.

But it’s becoming the norm now to turn on the TV and see no-one at the games. It’s sad.

I feel sorry for fans because they haven’t been able to go to games for so long. But I feel sorry for the players too, having to play without them. The sooner we can get them all back safely the better.

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