Manchester City’s new signing, Jack Grealish has compared how Lionel Messi felt when he left FC Barcelona to how he felt when he left Aston Villa this summer. The 25-year-old English striker said he shared some tears like how Messi did during his last press conference at Barcelona.
Lionel Messi spent his last 21 years at FC Barcelona. The 34-year-old Argentine football icon spent Seventeen years out of those years in the club’s senior team. During those years, he helped Barcelona to win 35 major titles and he won a record 6 Ballon d’Or for himself.
Messi showed his love for Barcelona when he agreed to accept a 50 percent pay cut just to remain at the club after his contract expired on June 30, 2021. But the financial complications at the club could not allow the club to renew its contract. Hence, he had to move on.
As for Jack Grealish, he still had a five-year deal with Aston Villa when Manchester City paid Villa £100 million for his services. Even though Villa wished that Grealish could stay at Villa, the versatile English star decided to leave.
After the transfer deal has been sealed, the chief executive of Aston Villa, Christian Purslow revealed that it has always been Jack Grealish’s dream to play in the Champions League.
Purslow noted that the England international urged the club to add a clause that would make it easier for him to leave the club to a Champions League playing club if any of them come for him, which Aston Villa did.
Hence, Jack Grealish’s last contract with Aston Villa came with a £100 million release clause which Manchester City paid with ease.
The move angered most fans of Aston Villa who thought their 25-year-old captain would continue to play for Villa. Some even call Jack Grealish a betrayal for jumping to Manchester City.
But Grealish stressed that it was tough for him to leave Aston Villa for Manchester City. He revealed that he shed some tears when he addressed his former teammates after sealing the transfer deal.
“It was so tough. I think everyone knows that,” Jack Grealish told Sky Sports.
“I reported back for the pre-season as I was meant to. That’s when the manager wanted me back so I went back for a few days. It was difficult because, in the back of my head, I knew that I might be going.
“Everyone’s seen the way Messi was at his final press conference and that is the exact way I felt myself.
“Before I left, at the hotel, I spoke to the team, the staff, and the players and I teared up a little bit myself.”
On what he has to offer Manchester City, Grealish said: “I think I’m different to every player in this squad. You have people… Raheem, a winger who likes to run in behind – you have Riyad, who’s just an out and out dribbler – Phil, who has a bit of everything.
“I feel like I can bring a lot to the team. That’s what the manager brought me here for. He says I can play in several positions, whether I’m playing as a winger, as an eight or a 10, or even a false nine. I feel like I can bring a lot of stuff.”.
Jack Grealish reveals why he had to leave Aston Villa
Jack Grealish has been at Aston Villa all his life and he was almost looking like a player that would spend his entire career at his childhood club.
But his performance at Euro 2020 where he played five games in which he provided 2 assists added to his fame in the world of football. From that point forward, coach Pep Guardiola of Manchester City made him a transfer target.
After the England international left Aston Villa for City, reports claimed that Grealish left Villa because he wanted to play UEFA Champions League football.
However, in an interview with Sky Sports, the 25-year-old left-winger said he joined Manchester City so that he could improve his chances of playing for England in the coming 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“I could name you like six or seven reasons why I ended up coming here,” Grealish said. “There were quite a few in the end.
“But also obviously the World Cup, we have so much talent at the national team now – people that didn’t even go to the Euros.
“I feel like if I’m performing for Man City week in week out and playing in the Champions League in Europe and performing the way I know I can, I feel like it could set me up to have a brilliant future with the national team and try to start in these games at the World Cup and the qualifiers.”