If Messi was to leave Barcelona for the Premier League today, which club is best suited?
Lionel Messi is one of the best players in the world at the moment and arguably one of the best of all time. Many say Cristiano Ronaldo is up there with him, and they wouldn't be far wrong.
Ronaldo however, has one major difference; he has played in arguably the best league in the world, The English Premier League, whereas Lionel Messi has not. Experts say the EPL is a far tougher league to play in, more physical, and a faster pace than many perhaps.
With a player possessing the quality that Lionel Messi has, would he suit the Premier League and would he still put in the performances that has seen him score 169 goals in just 214 appearances for Barcelona? I believe so. He has immense strength and is constantly taking kicks and knocks, if you try and wind him up like they'd do in the EPL, it will backfire.
Many of you will remember how Chelsea beat Barcelona in last seasons Champions League semi final, and Messi was marked out of the game, he was out of character, frustrated and wasn't half the player he can be. This was due to Chelsea's stubborn resistance and not allowing Messi to do what he does best, crowding him out, getting men behind the ball and pressing him.
This does not mean that Lionel Messi would not be as good if he was in the Premier League, it is purely a small sign of what club's can do to reduce the threat of Messi, who let's face it, on another day he would have scored 2 or 3, especially if he scored his penalty and took a few more long range efforts. Chelsea defended amazingly that game, but they also rode their luck.
So if the un-thinkable happened and Messi decided to try his luck in the Premier League, which current club would he be best suited to?
Reigning Champions Manchester City? I don't think so, I believe there are far too many similar style players to Messi in that team, a lot of ego's and a large squad. Players will become frustrated with each other, all trying to prove a point and be the core of the team.
What about City's closest rivals, Manchester United? He would be just what Wayne Rooney needs, someone to take some of the pressure and responsibilities off him. We've seen it with England, Rooney does not perform when he holds the weight of the teams expectations on his shoulders. Although I don't believe that United possess the quality of players that will play alongside Messi, to allow him to perform to his best.
My choice would be current European Champions, Chelsea. Not judging by their squad last season, because again they did not have enough quality. But with the new signings this season, I feel that Chelsea would bring the best out of Messi and he will fit in perfectly.
Messi is the type of player who needs to be the central figure of the team; he always wants the ball, plays a free role and makes things happen. He is kind of like the puppeteer using the rest of the team on strings, co-ordinating the play. But at the same time, he needs equally as technical players around him, players who can also create things, players like Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. And of course, Brazilian Oscar, who is set to complete his move to Chelsea.
I feel that Chelsea would have the creative intelligence this season to incorporate Lionel Messi as the pinnacle of the attack, playing the lone striker role, but inter-changing with wingers and midfielders. At Chelsea he will have the quality of players around him who he can link up with, who will see him as the main man, and will be able to provide the tight, fast moving passing style that Messi likes to orchestrate.
One thing for sure is, if Lionel Messi was to join Chelsea, how dangerous of an attacking force would they become then? It would be truly scary.