Man City is 'best' club for Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona for due to friendly faces in Pep and Aguero, says Zabaleta

MANCHESTER CITY is the 'best' club for Lionel Messi to join should he quit Barcelona this summer thanks to Sergio Aguero and Pep Guardiola, according to Pablo Zabaleta.

The Argentine superstar, 33, is set to quit the Nou Camp on a free transfer having come so close to an exit in 2020 following a fall-out with the board.


Man City and Paris Saint-Germain appear to be leading the race for Messi, with Juventus another club believed to be in the running.

Messi is yet to make a decision on his future, at least publicly.

But fellow Argentine – and ex-City defender – Zabaleta reckons the Etihad would be perfect for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner thanks to familiar faces Aguero and Guardiola.

Messi has spent years in the Argentina national team with Aguero, while he enjoyed four of his best years at Barca under Guardiola between 2008 and 2012.

Zabaleta told the Mirror: “If Lionel Messi ­decides to leave Barcelona and he wants to play in the best league then he has to experience the Premier League for himself.

"It is something that will ­interest him – because every player I know always asks me what the Premier League is like.

“Leo has been in La Liga for so many years and I think it would be a huge ­attraction for him to experience English football.

“And Manchester City offer the ­perfect conditions."

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Zabaleta explained: “He knows Pep very well, he knows [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [chief executive] Ferran Soriano – and also Kun Aguero.

"It would be a big ­decision if Leo leaves ­Barcelona.

"But if that’s what he wants then it would be a good thing for him to go to a club that has people already there who can help him to settle.

“When you have been at one club for so long, moving ­somewhere new can be very strange.

“I am sure clubs like ­Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus would also be interested in signing him.

"But it is my opinion that City would be the best place to go after Barcelona.”

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