Man City are 'top candidates for' Messi, says Barca presidential hopeful Font

By Peter Hanson 2 September 2020 16
Man City are 'top candidates for' Messi, says Barca presidential hopeful Font

Lionel Messi's desire to win major honours means Manchester City would be "top candidates" to sign the Argentina superstar, concedes Barcelona presidential hopeful Victor Font.

It was revealed last week Messi had made Barca aware of his desire to depart Camp Nou in the wake of the embarrassing 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Messi did not turn up for pre-season training this week as he believes a clause in his contract means he should be able to leave on a free transfer, though Barca and LaLiga both say payment of a €700million release clause is the only way to break him from his deal.

Earlier on Wednesday, Messi's father and agent, Jorge, said it will be difficult for his son to remain at Barca but discussions have yet to take place with Pep Guardiola over a move to the Etihad Stadium.

If Messi does secure a sensational exit then Font feels a reunion with ex-Barca boss Guardiola makes the most sense as City will challenge for the Champions League.

"Only time will tell," Font told talkSPORT on Messi's future. 

"What is clear is the priority for Messi is to play in a team that can compete for the top silverware worldwide and in Europe.

"He wants to win more Champions Leagues and obviously Manchester City and Pep are top candidates."

Font described the damage the situation has done to Barca as "phenomenal" but reiterated his desire for an amicable resolution to be reached.

"The damage this is doing to Barcelona is quite phenomenal. That's why we insist in the relevance of managing this properly because it can still be contained," he added.

"We need the two parties to sit down and discuss to ensure that whatever transition needs to happen, that transition is smooth and we can protect the ties between Messi and Barcelona, which are deep.

"I'm truly hoping reason prevails and as soon as the club and Messi's father sit down and talk, that the interest of both Messi and Barca will be taken into account and properly protected.

"Hope is the last thing you lose, so that's why until he's gone we will continue hoping that the situation can change.

"But beyond that, what I believe is very important is that a reasonable agreement is reached, so that we protect the interests of the club going forward.

"Even if that's the case [Messi leaving], the ties between Messi and Barcelona are very deep; he came to the city 20 years ago, he's been playing for this club all his life. 

"Messi is Barcelona, Barcelona is Messi, and what we need to ensure is that even if he leaves now these ties between Messi are Barcelona prevail.

"We have a plan, and the plan we have for the future is the club would like to count on Messi, even after he retires."

Messi's announcement came shortly after Barca great Ronald Koeman was chosen to succeed Quique Setien as head coach at Camp Nou.

It was reported Font would replace Koeman with Barca legend Xavi should he be voted in as president.

Clarifying his stance, Font said: "It was taken out of context. What I said was that in the last seven years we have been working on designing a project, a project that has many different pieces, and obviously the sports organisation is a very relevant part of that complex puzzle.

"We've been working on what the sports organisation would look like with the leadership of Xavi Hernandez, and what I said is, if we have the honour of being chosen by the members and we become the board of the club, we would like to implement the project we've been working on.

"Xavi as the leader of the sports organisation would be making the decision of how to handle the situation of Koeman, and I'm sure that if Koeman does well Xavi will take care of that in the right way."

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Peter Hanson

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