Manchester City’s hopes of signing the biggest names in football, including Lionel Messi, will be heavily impacted if their Champions League ban holds up.
The club are launching an appeal against the ruling to ban them from the tournament for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons.
City are confident of getting the ban overturned but it will take an almighty effort to convince the Court of Arbitration for Sport to side with them.
A two-season ban would be detrimental in their hopes of maintaining their current level of success, with the potential for players to leave.
And City could kiss goodbye to any hope they have of signing Messi.
Messi wouldn’t even consider joining a club that couldn’t offer Champions League football and he spoke about the mess City find themselves in during an interview with Mundo Deportivo.
The Argentinian reiterated that City’s players could look to leave and even went so far as to say they will be “screwed” by two years without elite European football.
“It is surprising because nobody thought that such a thing could happen," Messi said.
“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 is screwed."
In the unlikely event that Messi does leave Camp Nou for the Etihad, he would be reacquainted with former boss Pep Guardiola.
The Man City manager has committed himself to the reigning Premier League champions despite their ban.
“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,” Guardiola said, per the Mirror.News Now - Sport News