Former Arsenal star and France 1998 World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit has adviced Manchester City and Manchester United to forget about signing Barcelona star Lionel Messi — because he is not built for the Premier League like Cristiano Ronaldo was.
Petit who spent three years at Arsenal and Chelsea with a year at Barca sandwiched in between, posited that Messi would find it tough to perform in England.
“Honestly, I don’t think he’s suited to the intensity of England,” Petit said.
“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 but I don’t see why a club like Manchester 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 is not Cristiano Ronaldo. Physically, he’s not the same machine.
“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.”
Messi’s future has been thrown into doubt following a public spat with former teammate and Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal, and the revelation that he can walk away from the Not Camp for nothing in the summer thanks to a clause in his contract.
Petit added: “With the Eric Abidal and Lionel Messi situation, it all depends on what happens in the next transfer window.
“Many players were disappointed with the previous summer’s activity, with so many players rumoured to come in who never came, Neymar being one example.
“When you add in the investigation into medical procedures involving Abidal and the club, it has all contributed to his image being slightly affected.
“Abidal has also had recent trouble with Xavi, who’s a legend at Barca.
“It was hard to understand what was going on there, with talk of Xavi joining as manager — it was all very unclear.
“Seeing Xavi’s reaction afterwards, it showed that there’s a lack of communication and that someone is lying.
“Something similar has happened with Messi.
“We’re not used to Messi speaking out on social media in such a manner.
“Usually, he’s very quiet, so clearly he must be very upset.
“If you look at Abidal’s place in all this, I’m sure the club will be looking ahead to the next transfer window and looking at his responsibility for it.”
Petit also pointed out that he has been less than impressed in recent weeks with Barcelona’s form that led to Ernesto Valverde’s sacking last month.
He said: “I’ve watched them recently and I’ve been bored.
“It has been slow, they’re weak defensively and lack creativity.”