Wayne Rooney says Lionel Messi would be capable of landing a seventh Ballon d’Or if he left Barcelona for Manchester and linked up with either United or City.
A move to the Premier League is being mooted for a modern day superstar.
Struggles at Camp Nou are said to be edging Messi towards the exits, with the Argentine growing increasingly frustrated at events on and off the field in Catalunya.
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He is only tied to a contract through to 2021 and could break that agreement in order to take on a new challenge elsewhere.
City and United form part of an elite group of clubs that could afford to finance a move for Messi, while also matching his ambition to compete for the biggest prizes on offer.
Both of the Premier League heavyweights are said to be sounding out a stunning swoop for an all-time great.
Former United star Rooney, who remains the Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer, would love to see Messi in England.
He told talkSPORT: “I know he’s getting older but he’s a player who no-one has seen before.
“Messi has everything – he can create goals, score goals, dictate the game and is the best player of all time.
“He’s one of the only players I’ve sat there and watched and been in awe.
“Him and Cristiano Ronaldo have set a standard which I don’t think we will ever be seen again but, for me, Messi is just different level.”
City appear to hold a number of strong cards in any bid to lure Messi to the Etihad Stadium, with Pep Guardiola having worked with the South American before at Barcelona while Sergio Aguero is another notable Argentine on their books.
United, though, could launch an ambitious raid and Rooney feels Messi would thrive alongside the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne, with there potentially another Golden Ball there for him to claim.
Rooney, who is a now filling a player-coach role at Derby, added on Messi’s next move: “The United States shouldn’t be in his mind because he’s too good.
“He could come to the Premier League and be a Player of the Year. One million per cent.
“If he surrounds himself with Bruno Fernandes or Kevin De Bruyne, he could win a seventh Ballon d’Or.”
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