Lionel Messi believes a two-year ban from European competitions could affect Manchester City really badly.
The Barcelona captain reacted to the news of UEFA’s decision to sanction against the Premier League champions, who were found guilty of a serious breach of Financial Fair Play regulations.
It’s an awkward time for Man City with speculation mounting as to whether the club will be able to retain and attract the best players without the lure of the Champions League.
Raheem Sterling’s future is looking very uncertain after he refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid in an interview with Spanish media.
And Messi suggested a lack of football in Europe’s premier club competition will have a detrimental impact on their future.
He told Muno Deportivo: “It is surprising because nobody thought that such a thing could happen.
“Paris [Saint-Germain] paid a fine or I don’t know how it went. If in the end City does not play the Champions League for what it is, with the players, the club, and the money it spends, it will be weird.
“There are many players who may look for an exit or perhaps not. The Champions League is very attractive so two years without playing it can be screwed.”
Man City were defiant following the verdict and have made clear their intentions to appeal the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, while also contesting a £24.6million fine.
They were handed a boost this week with Pep Guardiola reaffirming his commitment to the club.
Guardiola said: “It’s not finished. The club believes it’s unfair so we are going to appeal. We are going to wait.
“Why should I leave? When I said I love this club I like to be here, why should I leave? No matter what happens I will be here next season.”
Man City are allowed to continue competing in this season’s competition, where they face Real Madrid in the last-16 before their ban is enforced in the 2020/21 season.
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