Where to next for Lionel Messi?

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All good things must come to an end, and sadly for Barcelona fans it looks like Lionel Messi’s fairytale time at the club has reached a depressing climax.

The Argentine attacker has by all reports told the Camp Nou heirarchy he wants out of the club after a trophy-less season that culminated in an 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

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While any exit is set to drag on for many weeks, potential suitors have quickly lined up in a bold bid to sign Messi. Like an online American casino, a number of sides are hoping to cash in on Messi’s gamble to depart the club he’s spent his entire career with.

Unfortunately for us Aussies, any move to the A-League remains the stuff of distant dreams and Melbourne Victory memes.

Manchester City, as it stands, appear to be front of the cue for Messi, with manager Pep Guardiola’s previous relationship with the Barca star ensuring the Premier League outfit have been able to bypass the line entirely.

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Reports out of Europe suggest Messi has already spoken with Guardiola and that he wants to play for City next season, but after getting caught up in a Financial Fair Play trial, the Citizens may struggle to find a way to fit the 33-year-old into an already expensive side.

Talking of expensive, Paris Saint-Germain certainly have the financial might to sign Messi and his former team-mate, Neymar, could well prove key in convincing the Argentine to move to France. Ligue 1 would allow Messi to run riot domestically, while still giving him the chance to claim another Champions League crown with Thomas Tuchel’s side losing this season’s final to Bayern.

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A move to Italy could also be on the cards with Inter Milan previously linked with interest. Should Messi join the Serie A side, he’d once again be coming up against Cristiano Ronaldo and could well ensure Juventus’ reign over the domestic title is ended. If that’s not motivation enough, Inter themselves last won a trophy in 2011 and could use a proven winner to get them back among silverware.

Among the less likely options looming for Messi, a move to China or MLS may also be possible. While the Chinese Super League could likely afford his wages, the MLS would offer Messi an attractive way to end his career and he’d be following in the footsteps of previous big names like David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

Like poker at a casinosnz casino, Messi’s next step will undoubtedly involve a fair amount of negotiation and bluffing as arguably the best footballer of all time attempts to play his final hand and come up trumps away from Barcelona.

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