The Argentina attacker admits a number of the club’s stars might seem to depart if they can not play in the contest.

Lionel Messi has sympathised with Manchester City players who could lose out on playing at the Champions League for the following two seasons, describing the situation as”screwed”.

City have been fined $30 million (#25m/$33m) and prohibited from UEFA competitions for 2 years for violating Financial Fair Play rules, though the club feel that they are innocent and are challenging the conclusion .

While director Pep Guardiola has stressed that he plans to remain in the Etihad next season, the club’s stars could seem to move on to be sure they’re still competing for one of soccer’s most precious pieces of silverware.

Messi was taken back by City’s ban and admits the prospect of the players missing out on Champions League for two seasons could be a difficult pill to swallow.

“It’s surprising because nobody believed that anything could occur, so strong,” Messi told Mundo Deportivo.

“Paris [Paris Saint-Germain] paid a fine or I do not know how it went. If ultimately It doesn’t play in the Champions League for what it is, together with the players, the club, and the money it spends, it is going to be weird.

“If City doesn’t enter the Champions League there are several players who may search for an exit or not. The Champions League is extremely attractive so two years without playing it’s screwed.”

Messi himself is determined to attain more Champions League success this year after seeing his side squander a 3-0 semi-final lead against Liverpool last year – a result the Argentina attacker still struggles to understand.

“The reality is that no, I find no excuse, particularly for Liverpool,” Messi stated.

“Rome can occur once and catches you by surprise, but it occurs again the next year with the result that we had and that’s more or less like what had occurred is tough to explain.”

The Catalans confront Napoli next Tuesday in the first leg of the last-16 tie with Messi imagining all remaining sides are a danger in the contest.

“All are complex and hard,” he said. “Paris went to play with Dortmund and lost, Liverpool went into the Atletico area and dropped, but I think, like everything and that, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris and Real Madrid would be the strongest now.”