Juan Mata has made it clear in no uncertain terms why he does not want to see Lionel Messi sign for Manchester City – because he wants to see him join Manchester United instead.
City were reportedly in talks to sign Messi this summer with the Argentine star pushing for a move away from Barcelona.
In fact, some even claimed he had agreed personal terms with the Premier League side.
But a move never materialised with Messi agreeing to stay at Barcelona. That is despite his discontent with things behind-the-scenes at the Camp Nou.
Messi will be out of contract with the La Liga giants at the end of the season though, and there is plenty of reason to believe he will be moving on to pastures new ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
And should that be the case, it seems as though City will reignite their interest in the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
United playmaker Mata, however, is desperate to not see that happen. Indeed, the Spanish star admits he’d far rather see Messi at Old Trafford – even if that pushed him further down the pecking order.
When asked about the chances of Messi joining City, Mata said: “Well I hope not – I hope not for the betterment of my club.
“I don’t know what will happen, but I hope he doesn’t go there.
“If he comes to Manchester I hope it’s to my club and not the other.
“There were rumours, for example, that Cristiano Ronaldo might come back to Manchester in the future.
“One of the things that I realised in professional football is that you should focus on what you can control and forget about what you cannot.”
Messi the ‘greatest of all time’
Following the recent tragic passing of Diego Maradona, debate has raged about who is the greatest of all time.
And Mata is of no doubt, to his mind at least, that Messi is the one.
He continued: “I have a soft spot – which is very easy to have – for Messi.
“He is a guy that every time I see him play football he makes my life better.
“I would give him the trophy for the best player every year.
“I will give him the trophy for the best player ever because, what he’s done in his career and what he still does, is just unbelievable.
“Sometimes I make fun with my friends, because whenever somebody has a bad day they put a video of Messi on YouTube and then the day improves.”
Messi has scored 641 goals and made 278 assists for Barcelona in 744 appearances.