Lionel Messi is expected to remain with Barcelona long-term, but the club’s sporting director Carles Rexach does admit the likes of PSG or Manchester City could potentially afford the Argentine superstar.
Messi was at his supreme best again on Sunday as he broke the Spanish hat-trick record when he scored three times in 12 second-half minutes as a rampant Barcelona hammered Rayo Vallecano 6-1. The victory ensured the Catalan giants went top of the Spanish League, following Real Madrid’s surprise defeat to Bilbao on Saturday.
It was Messi’s 32nd hat-trick in La Liga, surpassing Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra’s mark of 31, and he now leads his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored 27 hat-tricks during his career in Spain, by five triples.
There were rumours at the start of the season about a fall-out between Messi and manager Luis Enrique, which led to reports suggesting he may be sold at some point in the future.
Most pundits know that is highly unlikely to happen – certainly any time soon – and former player Rexach says there are only two clubs in the world that could afford him, with any fee being mentioned up around the £100m level just to open negotiations.
He said: “As for Messi, I think it’s almost impossible he will leave but with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, who have so much money, it could happen. Sometimes strange things occur.
“He’s a phenomenon, an extra-terrestrial who is comparable to Maradona and Pele.”