How would Lionel Messi perform in the Premier League?
You can have your Ballon d’Ors, your La Liga titles and even your handful of Champions League medals, but for many the real acid test is the Premier League.
Lionel Messi, seemingly wedded to Barcelona for life, could soon rip up his vows to look for pastures new and of course Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s ears have pricked up.
It’s odds-on at 10/11 that Messi is strutting his stuff at City, coming up against blood and thunder defenders like Scott Dann and Jon Egan next season.
But for many he is the best player to ever grace this planet, so what’s the problem?
We take a look at how the 33-year-old Argentine could really get on in England…
Can he get up to speed?
When you’re comparing the top five European leagues, it’s the Premier League’s non-stop nature and tempo that sets it apart.
Messi will be expected to acclimatise – not just to the weather – but to start contributing goals and assists in the league from the get-go.
When you look at other South American stars to grace these shores, Robinho looked good in the summer months’, but couldn’t hack a 38-game season.
Former Manchester United man Diego Forlan couldn’t get a handle on the Premier League, but upon leaving Old Trafford, became one of the most feared attackers in Europe. Angel Di Maria also.
But the likes of Carlos Tevez and Alexis Sanchez in his Arsenal prime proved revelations. Messi is used to setting the pace in La Liga, can he do it in the Premier League?
Rough and tumble
Argentine compatriot Gonzalo Higuain warned Messi of the Premier League’s robust nature, suggesting ‘nothing gets given’, and that there’s not as much protection for players compared to in La Liga.
But he did muse Messi wouldn’t suffer since he’s at a ‘different level’ to other players.
Will Messi have to change up his wizarding style for English football? Surely his magic wand will continue to wave a path of glory in the Premier League.
Other diminutive playmakers such as David Silva and Santi Cazorla adapted quickly and have become some of the finest players the league has ever seen.
Silva went down in Man City legend during his ten-year spell, with reports that the club will issue a statue in his honour.
Messi may only be around for the next two or three seasons, but his talent could mean he has a similar transformative effect.
Best player in the world?
Some may level the intimidating crowds in England as another hurdle to jump. Think a midweek game at Anfield or a Monday night under the lights at Selhurst Park.
But this is Messi. He’s been voted the Best Player in World Football six times. He’s scored 26 goals and put on six assists in 34 games against English opposition in his career to date.
His status in the game will mean some are in awe. And playing in a fluid, tiki-taka style alongside Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres should give him plenty of opportunity to leave defenders in a daze.
Many Cristiano Ronaldo fans favour the Portuguese because he’s excelled in three of Europe’s biggest leagues. If Messi arrives in England and lights it up – the debate may be all but over.
Reckon the Premier League will be light work for Lionel?
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication