The Blues are European Champions, the only team in London to win the trophy with the big ears twice, and have Thomas Tuchel – the best coach in world football. The reasons for Leo to walk down the Fulham Road this summer appear endless.
Chelsea fans know what it is like for a small dazzling number 10 to arrive and become a club icon. In November 1996, an Italian rocked up that would transform the quality of play any supporter had seen at Stamford Bridge and became so beloved his shirt number – number 25 – would be retired.
Gianfranco Zola is a club icon for his seven-year stint at Stamford Bridge. Once described by Sir Alex Ferguson as a “clever little so-and-so”, Zola would produce moments of magic that have become imprinted in the psyche of every Chelsea-loving mind.
His smashed volley against Stuttgart in Stockholm to win the Cup Winners’ Cup. The way he made West Ham defender Julian Dicks look like a man chasing his dog before finishing one of the best solo goals in Premier League history. Of course the mind boggling back-heeled flick from a corner against Norwich in the FA Cup. All of these moments are there for Lionel to replicate, and maybe Gianfranco might be kind enough to let the Argentinian use his number.
As Champions of Europe, Messi will be joining a club who know what it is like to get the job done in Europe’s elite competition over the pretenders in Paris. Why join a squad containing a former Spurs boss who lost the Champions League final? He also managed to lose the Ligue 1 title race. Bail out Neymar who left your beloved Barca because he was jealous of your talent?
Football’s greatest ever player deserves to join a club who have won it all and sit with the adults on the top table of European royalty. Both PSG and Manchester City have shown themselves to still be infants when the Champions League gets serious.
Added to that the Stamford Bridge faithful who will adore Lionel and make him feel right at home. Who wouldn’t want to have their first name chanted back to them repeatedly? The Matthew Harding Lower would reverberate in unison with “Leo, Leo, Leo” as the little man dances around the most treasured turf in football, leading Chelsea to more domestic and European glory.
Even if it may appear Messi has little to learn, I am certain Mason Mount could teach this old dog some new tricks.
Adding 2020/21 league and Champions League chances created, Chelsea’s Player of the Season only trailed the six-time Ballon d’Or winner by one despite being seven years younger. I am also contractually obliged to mention here that Mount created the goal that won the European Cup for Chelsea.
Messi revealed how highly he rates Mount and would clearly learn a lot from playing alongside England’s best midfielder. “Having watched him play, he has the potential to be on the best,” Messi said when speaking on Mount. That likely confirms Messi’s preferred choice is Chelsea because of Mount and it is just a matter of sorting out a contract on Roman Abramovich’s yacht.
Messi would not only have the pleasure of playing alongside Mount, but a generational star in Kai Havertz, gliding around Messi to obliterate defences. If anyone can keep Timo Werner onside, it is probably the genius of Messi’s through balls to finally unlock the German forward. A wizard in Hakim Ziyech could meet a God and learn the ways of football sorcery from the best. Mastering his skills under Messi’s wing until he is able to stand on his own and defeat a fire-breathing dragon or Virgil van Dijk.
West London too is wonderful to live in. Easy transport links to the centre of the world’s greatest city on the iconic Underground. It is beautifully poetic that a King of football could walk down the King’s Road minutes from Stamford Bridge on a regular basis. On the same road Messi could finally experience the best full English breakfast at the Mona Lisa Café which is the best dining for pre-match meals.
Nothing gets you more pumped up for a big match like Blur’s ‘Parklife’ which has now become a ritual at the Bridge before the teams walk out. Hearing the iconic ‘Liquidator’ as you take those steps into the purest cathedral in sport. Messi might think he has experienced the height of football’s greatest venues in Catalonia, but SW6 will certainly give the Camp Nou a run for its money.
Messi could be dull and choose the Etihad where Manchester City have just spent £100m on Jack Grealish, with Kevin De Bruyne their main star and chasing after Harry Kane. He’s already played for Pep Guardiola in his career, that’s a tired narrative. Manchester United despite their size and wealth still have Ole Gunnar Solskjær at the helm, who somehow managed to fumble a Europa League final against Villarreal.
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Chelsea can afford Messi, will give him the quality in coaching and team-mates he requires. The Blues have suitable European success in our history and a great location to live in.
Just sign here Lionel and we will go and defend our European crown! You know it makes sense.