Lionel Messi was linked with Man Utd as a youngster and then left Sir Alex Ferguson with a major regret – but as his career draws to a close it looks almost certain he’ll never play in the Premier League..
As Lionel Messi’s career draws towards its conclusion, it appears highly unlikely we will ever see him in the Premier League.
After winning the World Cup with Argentina, Messi is looking at one last contract in European football. He is reported to have verbally agreed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain, delaying a potential move to the MLS, although Barcelona are also keen to bring him back in the unlikely case that finances allow it.
Either way, Messi’s paths for the future appear to be pointed far away from England – despite the avenue to the Premier League being one which once intrigued the superstar.
In the summer of 2020, when Messi’s time at Barcelona became uncertain, more started to be said about his opinions on other clubs. And, at the time, it was reported by The Athletic that Messi was “more charmed” by “historic English clubs such as Manchester United “, as his positive private view of the Red Devils was made public.
Unfortunately for United, the chance to see Messi at Old Trafford appears just a pipe dream at this stage. However, it was not such an impossible thing to believe at the very beginning of his career.
Aged just 20, he was linked with United at a timewhen a move would have certainly seemed more plausible before he emerged as the world’s greatest player. However, he admitted he had already “realised his dream” of being at Barcelona and had no interest in a transfer.
Asked by FourFourTwo about a United transfer back in 2007, Messi responded: ”I’m happy in Barcelona. Why wouldn’t I be?
“I’ve realised my dream. It’s the best club in the world with the best players. My family are happy here; they like it.”
Not only did United miss out on signing Messi, they also experienced his ability first-hand on a number of occasions – none more so than the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals. On both occasions, Messi’s magic saw Barcelona undo United and lift European football’s top prize.
They way both games played out left a regret for legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson – who believed he should’ve used Park Ji-Sung to man-mark the Argentinian maestro, as Rio Ferdinandrevealed in a BBC documentary last year.
“Ferguson said that he should have put Park Ji-Sung on him,” Ferdinand explained. “If anyone could have done it, then it would have been him. But I have watched so many clips of that game when he moves Park around a lot.
“Maybe Park would have been able to slow him down, and maybe that would have been enough. But would that have stopped a prime Lionel Messi? I very much doubt it. I don’t think one player could do it. I was just on the pitch at the end and thought that we need to get off there. They took our soul, basically. Messi was the main ingredient.”
The only consolation for United is that those encounters seem to have contributed to a positive view on the club from arguably the greatest player of all-time. Whilst they might never see Messi where the famous red shirt, the few occasions their paths have crossed over the years have certainly proved memorable.