"I don't think he's suited to England" - Emmanuel Petit believes Lionel Messi would struggle in the Premier League

Lionel Messi

Emmanuel Petit believes Lionel Messi could struggle in the Premier League were he to join Manchester City.

The Barcelona forward has been linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium after a public row with Blaugrana sporting director Eric Abidal.

A clause in Messi's contract would allow him to walk away from the Camp Nou for free this summer, provided he communicates his desire to do so by May.

But Petit, who played for both Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League, believes Messi would find it difficult to cope with the physical nature of English football.

“Messi is not Cristiano Ronaldo. Physically he’s not the same machine," he told Paddy Power.

“Ronaldo is a monster, but at 32 Messi has only one or two more years playing at the highest level.

“Even playing alongside great players at Barca, he won’t have the same pace or the dribbling ability. I’m sure he knows the end is not far away.

“Honestly, I don’t think he’s suited to the intensity of England. He doesn’t like being closed down and being fought – in Spain he’s protected.

“It would be a pleasure for English fans to see him there but I don’t see why a club like Man City, for example, would move for Messi at 32 or 33.

“If City wanted to buy him, they should have tried to do it a couple of years ago.

“Messi has won so many trophies and when I look back on Barca’s team from 10 years ago it’s clear now the club was at its peak. Those players wrote their own legends in that period.

“It’s normal that after you reach that level you realise there’s nothing else above it, and the only way is down. You can’t stay at the top forever.

“If you look at the players they’ve bought since then, you can see they haven’t had the financial might to compete against the biggest powers in the transfer market.

“They’re one of the biggest clubs but financially they’ve been a bit of a nightmare recently.

“Now they have to sell before they buy and these days if they want to bring in the world’s best players it costs them €80m or more.”

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