Sergio Aguero believes Manchester City could afford Lionel Messi and would welcome him with open arms at the Etihad Stadium, but he doubts it will happen as it would be a "complicated" move to pull off.
He told TyC Sport (h/t MailOnline's Matthew Smith): "The money isn't a problem here, but I think Messi, like [Cristiano] Ronaldo, is a player who is a symbol of their club and it's difficult for them to leave. I would love to have Leo on my team, but that seems quite complicated."
Messi is in the final year of his contract with Barcelona and, sensationally, could move clubs for free next summer if he does not renew his terms. Further, he'll be able to speak to foreign clubs, including City, during the January transfer window.
The forward has been in typically majestic form this season, racking up 14 goals and three assists in 11 matches for Barcelona.
He put in a heroic performance on Tuesday, firing in a hat-trick against Ecuador to take Argentina to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Independent's Miguel Delaney noted the way he took matters into his own hands:
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
It's as if, after 17 games of trying to be a team player and just getting utter rubbish in return, he decided "I'll just sort it myself"2017-10-10 23:52:23
Messi's exploits saw him achieve yet another milestone in a seemingly endless list of personal achievements, per La Liga:
Messi is the all-time 🔝 scorer ⚽️ #LaLiga ✅ @FCBarcelona ✅ @Argentina ✅ World Cup qualifiers ✅ https://t.co/3aNHuvZUKm2017-10-12 00:30:19
City already boast arguably the best attacking lineup in the Premier League—as they have demonstrated by becoming the division's top scorers thus far—but the chance to bring in a player who can claim to be the best of all time is not one to pass up.
What's more, the Sky Blues have an advantage over their rivals not only because of their wealth, but they can also offer Messi a reunion with manager Pep Guardiola.
Messi scored a phenomenal 211 goals in four years under Guardiola, and the pair won three La Liga titles, two UEFA Champions League titles and two Copas del Rey in that time, among other honours.
BBC Sport's John Bennett believes the talisman would have no problem adapting to life in England:
John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC
Messi bossing it on a Tuesday night 2900 metres above sea level. You know what I’m pretty sure he’d be ok on a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke2017-10-11 08:44:13
Messi may now be 30, but it's clear he's still at the top of his game, and he'll likely remain so for years to come.
While his contract situation should worry Barcelona, they remain the only club he has played for at a senior level and he won't take the decision to leave lightly. As such, Aguero is right to have his doubts as to whether such a move will happen.