Speculation has been rife this past week over Lionel Messi’s future but Emmanuel Petit believes the Barcelona superstar would struggle in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old was involved in a public spat with sporting director Eric Abidal earlier this week, which led to question marks over their respective futures at the Nou Camp.
While it seems wholly unlikely that Messi would leave Barcelona at this stage of his career, it remains to be seen if the issues continue at the club which could force him to consider his options.
It has previously been suggested that the Argentine international has the option to leave Barcelona at the end of this season if he wishes despite having a year left on his deal, as the Catalan giants have given a number of their club legends the opportunity to decide their own future.
However, Petit doesn’t believe that a move to England would be a sensible idea for Messi at this stage of his career, as the former Arsenal midfielder and Premier League winner suggests that he would struggle to adapt to the physicality and intensity of the game in the English top flight.
“Honestly, I don’t think he’s suited to the intensity of England,” he is quoted as saying by the Mirror. “He doesn’t like being closed down and being fought. In Spain, he’s protected.
“It would be a pleasure for English fans to see him but I don’t see why a club like Manchester City, for example, would move for Messi at 32 or 33. If City wanted to buy him, they should have tried to do it a couple of years ago.
“Messi is not Cristiano Ronaldo. Physically, he’s not the same machine. Ronaldo is a monster but, at 32, Messi has only one or two more years playing at the highest level.
“Even playing alongside great players at Barca, he won’t have the same pace or the dribbling ability.”
Naturally, many will disagree with him and slam him for his comments such is Messi’s world-class ability. However, others may well believe that he has a point especially with Messi now 32. As with any opinion based on a comparison between Messi and Ronaldo though, it will certainly spark a heated reaction.