Argentina international Lionel Messi has refused to rule out a future move to the Chinese Super League once he decides to end his long-term association with Barcelona.
The 29-year-old had yet another top season with the Catalan giants with 54 goals across all competitions, but was unable to push his side towards another La Liga triumph. The Camp Nou outfit also struggled in their Champions League campaign, and were eventually ousted by Juventus by a 3-0 scoreline.
Messi’s current deal at Barcelona is due to expire at the end of next season, but the club’s hierarchy are confident of extending his terms with the prospect of increasing his release clause. The five time Ballon d’Or winner has a £250m buy-out clause on his present contract, and this could skyrocket further to the £348m range, should he ink terms over a new three-year deal.
Speaking to ESPN China, Messi admitted that it is his dream to stay put with Barcelona, but a move to the Far East remains a probable option, he said: “[Staying at Barca] is what I’ve always wanted, what I always dreamt of and what I always said I’d do. But I wouldn’t say [moving to China] is impossible, no?No one can say that anything is impossible in football.Anything can happen [in football] but today I’ll tell you — no, it hasn’t crossed my mind.”
The Argentina superstar has been linked with a potential switch to Manchester City in recent years, but a move looks highly unlikely this summer with Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde keen on finalising a fresh deal with the club’s all-time goalscorer.The Catalan outfit are expected to ring in the changes until the new head coach, and this could potentially see the likes of Arda Turan, Rafinha and Denis Suarez in order to bring in a top-class midfielder –preferably Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain.