Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes that the club can be as strong as the current Barcelona side within the next five years, BBC Sport has reported.
In each of the last two seasons, the Spanish giants have outclassed City over two legs, sending them out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage with two fairly comprehensive aggregate victories.
Barcelona are now firmly on course to reach the final after beating Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of their semi-final, while the recently dethroned Premier League champions are yet to make a significant challenge to win European football’s top prize after four seasons of taking part in the competition.
And Pellegrini thinks that the star quality provided by four-time Ballon D’Or winner Lionel Messi is the main difference between the sides. He said: “This season we are really seeing again the Barcelona we saw a few years ago. But there are things we can try to do to reduce the gap. I’m sure we’re going to do it sooner than five years.
“First we need to find another Messi. He makes the difference, without doubt, like [Cristiano] Ronaldo at Real Madrid. But last year Barcelona didn’t win any titles. Messi is an important player, but it’s not just Messi. You need a lot of things around him to be an important team.”
Trailing new Premier League winners Chelsea by 13 points, City are in a battle with Arsenal to finish second, with their failure to win a trophy this season putting Pellegrini’s future in some doubt.
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