Former Barcelona defender, Eric Abidal, has reignited the rumors about Lionel Messi leaving the Catalan capitol by suggesting the four-time Ballon d’Or winner could join Paris Saint-Germain.
In a Sunday evening interview with Telefoot, the former Barcelona, Monaco, Lyon, and Olympiacos star suggested it might be time for Messi to move on from the club he joined as a 13-year-old.
“He’s won everything at Barcelona and so he might be interested in the challenge of winning with another club,” said Abidal, who left Barcelona in 2013.
“PSG have put together a good squad with determination and many objectives to achieve. It’s a club that might appeal to Leo.”
Abidal and Messi played together for six years at Barcelona, winning four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues. Abidal, now 35, has remained close friends with Messi since his departure from the club.
It’s no secret that PSG have long desired to land a player the caliber of Messi or his rival, Cristiano Rolando. A newly moneyed club, PSG are still working to establish themselves among Europe’s elite. To that end, they’ve assembled an expensive squad of superstars led by the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.
But it’s not been all wine and roses in terms of PSG’s march to the top. Despite winning consecutive domestic titles, PSG have struggled in Ligue 1 this season and currently sit in second place behind Lyon. While they’re in the last 16 in the Champions League, a draw last week at home to Chelsea suggests the Parisian outfit could be knocked out of the competition when they face Jose Mourinho’s Blues at Stamford Bridge next month.
Landing a player like Messi, unquestionably among the top two in the world, would further legitimize PSG as a top-level club. As Messi, now 27, approaches his late twenties, the lower intensity of the French top-flight league could also allow him to extend his shelf-life as a player, in the way that Ibrahimovic has been able to.
In the meantime, Messi and the rest of his Blaugrana teammates will look to bounce back quickly from Saturday’s surprise 1-0 home loss to Malaga as they face Manchester City in the Champions League Tuesday. Despite having an 11-match winning streak snapped by Malaga on the weekend, Barça are the favorites to progress to the next round of the competition. But Barcelona boss Luis Enrique isn’t underestimating the threat of the Premier League outfit, which beat Newcastle 5-0 on the weekend. Enrique, who’s in his first season in charge at Barça, will travel to Manchester with all available first-team players in his squad.