The Barca captain is heading towards free agency in the summer but could yet sign an extension with the Camp Nou club
Mario Kempes considers fellow Argentine Lionel Messi to be “torn” when it comes to his future at Barcelona, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner being urged to consider moves to Manchester City, Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain.
An iconic 33-year-old continues to run his contract down at Camp Nou, with free agency set to be hit in the summer if no extension is agreed with the only club he has represented at senior level across a remarkable career to date.
Fresh terms are being mooted for Messi, but there has also been plenty of talk regarding moves elsewhere and Kempes believes his countryman should be open to the idea of taking on a new challenge outside of Spain.
What has been said?
Kempes, a 1978 World Cup winner who took in two spells with Valencia in his playing days, has told Sport Bild: “Messi is torn.
“He feels extremely comfortable in Barcelona. But he realises that the chances of winning the Champions League again with Barca are slim.
“Recently, Barcelona were always prematurely eliminated due to the financial situation, the club is having great difficulty building a new top team.”
Kempes added on the options available to Messi: “He would have to go to Pep Guardiola [at Manchester City], Paris Saint-Germain or FC Bayern.
“These clubs either have the money or the players for great success.”
Where could Messi end up?
Kempes is right to suggest that few sides in world football can match the sporting and financial ambition of an all-time great.
City, PSG and Bayern would fit into that category, but a switch to Germany is unlikely given the frugal approach to recruitment that the reigning Bundesliga champions continue to favour.
Kempes added: “Those responsible in Munich think with their heads, not with their wallets, and would never pay such a high salary for Messi.”
The bigger picture
Messi has remained a talismanic presence for Barca this season, helping them to Copa del Rey glory.
Ronald Koeman’s side have, however, been unable to establish late momentum in a La Liga title push and suffered another early exit from the Champions League at the last-16 stage.
It remains to be seen whether the Catalan giants have done enough to convince Messi, who now has 671 goals for the club to his name through 777 appearances, to commit his future to a team seemingly in a period of transition.
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