Rivaldo tells Lionel Messi which Premier League club to join if he leaves Barca

Barcelona hero Rivaldo has argued that a move to Manchester City could be the ‘best option’ for Lionel Messi should the iconic forward depart the Nou Camp this summer.

Messi, 33, sent shockwaves around the world of football by handing in a transfer request at Barcelona on Tuesday in the wake of the side’s disappointing 2019/20 campaign which ended which a miserable 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Argentine’s camp have informed Barca that they intend to exercise a clause in his contract which could allow him to leave on a free transfer.

The Catalan giants are adamant this expired on June 10 and insist Messi is tied into a deal until 2021 unless a rival club triggers his enormous €700million (£629m) release clause.

But Messi’s team are confident that the clause remains effective due to the coronavirus crisis delaying Barcelona’s season.

Reports in Brazil claim Messi is pushing for a sensational switch to the Etihad where he would be reunited with ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola – and Rivaldo feels this would be a sensible move for the legendary attacker.

‘Manchester City could be Messi’s best option as his next club,’ the former Barcelona and Brazil star told Betfair.

‘He’s 33 but his quality and talent are both unquestionable and I think he still has a few more years at the top. He could quickly start shining in England.

‘Guardiola has deep knowledge of Messi’s abilities and would find a solution to quickly incorporate him into the team and get the best from him.

‘I even imagine Guardiola building the rest of his team around Messi. His talent can make the difference at any place and at any time, and I’m sure he could produce match-winning performances in the Premier League.’

Rivaldo has been saddened by the situation and believes the ‘best solution’ would be for Messi and Barcelona to find some sort of agreement.

‘It’s sad to see Messi, Barcelona’s greatest ever player, trying to use a contract release clause to leave the club, but we must hear both sides of the story and try to understand what’s really happening,’ he continued.

‘Barcelona don’t want to lose their best player for nothing so they’ll try to convince the player to stay or agree to let him leave if they receive a good offer from another club.

‘The best solution would be an agreement between the parties but judging from their fax communication yesterday it’s clear there is some kind of misunderstanding so they’re unlikely to reach an agreement in the next few days.’

Rivaldo added: ‘At a time when every club faces difficulties due to the pandemic, it would be a big blow for Barcelona to lose their biggest player without receiving payment.

‘That’s the biggest obstacle to an immediate exit for Messi because Barca will want to receive at least some money.

‘Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer fee, when he left Real Madrid for Juventus for €100m, was considered a dubious bit of business in 2018. But looking at what’s happening with Messi, perhaps it wasn’t so bad for Madrid as they got a good fee at the right time.

‘It will be a sad ending for Messi’s story with Barcelona if things remain this way but this is football and sometimes things don’t run according to our expectations.’

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