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Juan Mata has one wish when it comes to Lionel Messi’s transfer plans

Manchester United’s Juan Mata says Lionel Messi can be considered the greatest player ever and for that reason he is hopefully the Argentine does not join rivals Man City.

Pep Guardiola’s City will always be considered favourites to sign Messi if he’s to leave Camp Nou, just like they were when he handed in a transfer request at Barcelona last summer. He remained in place at the club but is out of contract in June.

Mata sounds worried about the prospect of Messi ending up in the Premier League next year.

“I hope not! I hope not for the betterment of my club,” Mata, speaking in his role as an Laureus ambassador, is quoted as saying in the Mirror.

“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.”

I don’t remember Messi ever going through a period of unrest at Barcelona like this, and I don’t think anyone expects him to stay at the club when his contract expires. Unless a lot of changes are made over the course of this year.

However, Mata remains a huge admirer of the 33-year-old, who has won a whopping six Ballon d’Or awards during his career.

“I have a soft spot — which is very easy to have — for Messi,” Mata added. “He is a guy that every time I see him play football he makes my life better.

“I’d 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 unbelievable.

“I always 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 four goals thus far in La Liga this season, and a total of seven across all competitions, which is less than his usual output. He has carried Barcelona for years and it looks like the end is near in the Messi/Barcelona fairytale.

Read more: Manchester United target England defender to challenge Wan-Bissaka for place in team

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