Blame AAU basketball, blame the one-and-done generation, blame whatever you want, but what cannot be argued is that there is an international wave taking over the NBA. Increasingly it seems like the best and most influential players in the NBA are from countries and regions outside of the U.S.
Far-Fetched Friday: Messi to Leave Barcelona for Manchester City
This weekend has been a very traumatizing weekend for Manchester City and Barcelona fans alike. For Barcelona fans, losing to Bayern Munich 8-2 was a shocking revelation of the dire state of the football club. Usually synonymous with success, that 8-2 loss will go down in history as one of the most embarrassing moments in soccer history. On the other hand, you could argue that Manchester City fans are more disappointed than Barcelona fans, seeing that Lyon was considered a very favorable quarterfinal draw. Both clubs failed, and both clubs have some holes to fill, and that is where my prediction comes in.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. My prediction is that Lionel Messi will end up on the Manchester City roster within a year or two.
It makes the most sense. A Messi move to Barcelona would be a win for all parties.
On the Manchester City end, as successful as Guardiola has been since leaving Barcelona, he still hasn't won a Champions League trophy since he left the club eight years ago. Meanwhile, Manchester City has one final hurdle to jump in their minds to relevance, and that is winning a Champions League trophy. The problem is they have a roster filled with players who have never crossed that hurdle and seem to be one player away from jumping that hurdle.
On the Barcelona end, the club is in clear need of a rebuild that might take a few years, a few years a 33-year-old Lionel Messi does not have. The Argentine legend will not want to end his career in a whimper as Barcelona prepares for a much-needed rebuild, which means he might seek an exit. The other side is, for the first time in history, Barcelona may actually be considering the sale of Messi. It sounds unthinkable, but not really when you consider that the club is entirely too dependent on him, and that prevents any real rebuild.
Think about it, with Lionel Messi at his creative best with 33 goals and 26 assists in just 45 games, Barcelona ended up with ZERO trophies for the first time in 12 years. And as mentioned, Messi's presence on the field did not prevent an 8-2 loss, or the comeback loss to Liverpool last season, and at the hands of Roma the year before that.
The harsh truth is, having Messi on the field for Barcelona is no longer the trophy winning X-factor it once was.
The club has grown too reliant on his talents, and it has cost them. This disappointment has been a long time coming. Messi's brilliance acted as masking tape to hide the fact that the club's stars of the past were aging season after season. His presence also meant the club designed an identity based on feeding him the ball and waiting for magic. It is entertaining for fans but has also prevented the assimilation of expensive purchases like Griezmann, Coutinho, Dembele, Arthur, and other stars that never quite found their fit in that type of playing system. It is the same lesson Argentina learned in the years since the 2014 World Cup Final.
At the end of it all, Messi deserves to end his career with at least one Champions League trophy. Barcelona is in desperate need of a rebuild that needs to happen without Messi, Guardiola hasn't found Champions League success since he left Messi, and Manchester City is one star away from winning a Champions League trophy and cementing their place in European history.
That star is Lionel Messi, and he will be reppin the light blue of Manchester City within the next two years.
And as a bonus, we'll finally get to see Messi do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke (probably in the FA Cup).
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