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Where Will Lionel Messi Play Next?

Barcelona Lionel Messi Transfer Odds August 19, 2020

As a crestfallen Barcelona team slouched from the pitch after losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in last week’s Champions League semifinal, the Catalans’ mood was epitomized by the hunched figure of their talisman, Lionel Messi.

Speculation is mounting that not only will old heads such as Gerard Pique, Arturo Vidal and Sergio Busquets, all well into their 30s, be leaving but Lionel Messi himself could depart Camp Nou. 

Messi leaving Barcelona would have been unthinkable a year ago, but rumors abound that the mercurial Argentine won’t be part of the revolution that tough-talking former player Ronald Koeman is likely to preside over in the coming months.

Having just turned 33, the so-called greatest player of all time would almost have his pick, so where could the man who has won six Ballons d’Or end up?

Here are the betting odds for which club Messi could play for next and which country he could end up playing in:

Odds on Lionel Messi’s Next Team
TeamOdds
Manchester City+200
Inter Milan+300
Juventus+400
PSG+500
Manchester United+1000
Bayern Munich+1200
Liverpool+1200
Newell’s Old Boys+1500
AC Milan+2000
Inter Miami+2500
LA Galaxy+3300
Arsenal+4000
Chelsea+4000
Leeds United+5000
Real Madrid+6600

Odds as of August 19 at Bovada

Odds on the Home Country of Lionel Messi’s Next Team
TeamOdds
England+125
Italy+250
France+400
Germany+750
Argentina+800
Spain+800
USA+1200
China+2000

Odds as of August 19 at Bovada

England

While Messi has excelled in La Liga, he’s never proven himself in another league, while his notorious GOAT rival Cristiano Ronaldo has starred in Portugal, England and now Italy as well as reigning in Spain.

Ronaldo had many options when he left La Liga at 33 years old and chose a slower pace of the game in Italy, a country that prides technical skill but doesn’t rely on burning pace – the speed that Messi has never had. It’s the most intense football league in the world.

Manchester City (+200) is the betting favorite for the 12-time Argentine Footballer of the Year’s signature and Pep Guardiola, Messi’s legendary former Barcelona manager, is in charge at the Etihad. However, former Argentina teammate and Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuain has warned off his old friend from swapping Camp Nou for appearances at grounds such as Elland Road, Turf Moor and The Hawthorns next season.

If Messi is coming to the United Kingdom, he almost certainly joins Manchester City for financial and personal reasons. At +200 to be his next team, that presents considerably better value than the +125 on offer for him to join any English club.

Verdict: A neat swerve by the magician.


Italy

The temptation to renew old rivalries with CR7 in Italy is an obvious draw, but where could Messi end up?

The favorite to land his signature from Serie A is Inter Milan (+300), which has recently shelled out for a plethora of players, many of whom fit the “free role” that Messi would surely covet. Christian Eriksen was pried away from Tottenham Hotspur to play regularly in the No. 10 position Messi inhabits for the Catalans, while Alexis Sanchez – a player who left Barcelona swiftly after Neymar’s arrival amid talk of the Chilean not fitting the system – has been signed on a full contract after a successful loan period.

Add into that the fact that Serie A isn’t the richest league in the world and other suggestions of AC Milan (+2000) and Juventus (+400) don’t appeal either.

Verdict: A neat trick and Messi skips past a proud defense.


France

It’s undeniable that there is a romance to playing for Paris Saint-Germain beyond the millions of euros on offer for playing in the famous navy-blue shirt with the red vertical stripe. There’s the prestige of playing for France’s top club, the fact that they will compete in the Champions League every year and the possibility of linking up with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, for starters. 

Messi would be the king of French football for a few years before his retirement and would have proved himself in a different league. Sure, Ligue 1 isn’t the most testing but Messi, Neymar and Mbappe would create the acronym “MnM.” It presents an attractive proposition at +500 for bettors as well as the Barcelona legend, especially with PSG reaching the Champions League final in 2020.

Verdict: A pirouette and Messi finds the top corner. Goal!

Lionel Messi is +350 to announce his immediate retirement and -600 to continue playing. Those odds seem fair, along with the -300 that the next team he signs for will make the 2021 Champions League quarterfinals. While neither of those markets offer value, Messi linking up with fellow Argentines Leandro Paredes, Mauro Icardi and Ángel Di María in Paris definitely does.