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Lionel Messi And Christian Pulisic Should Trade Each Other For Their Transfer Rumors

Christian Pulisic (R) of USA struggle for the ball against Lionel Messi (L) of Argentina during the 2016 Copa America Centenario Semi-final match between USA vs Argentina at the NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston, USA.
Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Sports rumors are made almost entirely of Play-Doh in that they are cheap to make, cheap to buy, have many colors and are endlessly malleable. Thus, the time was right with the World Cup going on in the Eight Palaces of Perpetual Shame to drop a couple of Kool-Aid shooters. You know, lots of sugar, not much taste and utterly without nutritional value.

The first dealt with Lionel Messi's alleged agreement to play next season for David Beckham's Inter Miami team in MLS. The idea that he needs another year of medical benefits is hilarious in and of itself, and the report from the Sunday Times suggests he will take a pay cut from his current $40M to help out his pal David Beckham to transition to the team's new arsenic-laced stadium scheduled to open in 2025.

Okay, fine, but ESPN broke its own whisper that suggests that American icon/Chelsea occasional Christian Pulisic may be acquired by Manchester United in a loan deal when the next transfer window opens in January. Apparently Man Utd, about to be rid of its own turbulent priest in Cristiano Ronaldo, needs a striker who can't get playing time in London but could mildly increase team PR and marketing after the Ronaldo debacle. Manchester United is currently owned (and about to be sold) by the wacky Glazer family, and Pulisic's contract will no doubt contain a don't-talk-to-Piers Morgan clause which we can all agree is a good policy in general.

But in the perfect world, these rumors are clearly backwards. Pulisic, the beetle-browed American icon, should be the Miami signing, not because he can boost the team's profile the way a superb but declining Messi can (he can't), but because Manchester United replacing Ronaldo with Messi is the most gangstery gangster move in the world of human acquisition.

This is not meant to dismiss Pulisic, although his hype has clearly far outstripped his production since he left Borussia Dortmund, and frankly his most dewy-eyed fans are the kind of people you'd call the cops to clear off your front porch.

But Manchester United, which both earned and endured the merde flambée that was the end of the second Ronaldo experiment, could totally finish the unpleasantness by playing the ace that would cause Ronaldo to go full Phil Hellmuth while he looks for a club with which to finish his own career. The long-running hate-valry between Messi and Ronaldo has been the dry rub on their two-grill battle to be known as the greatest non-Maradona in soccer history (and yes, that was meant to be entirely provocative, as the correct reference is non-Zlatan). Thus, United announcing without announcing that they picked the wrong grandioso and have remedied their error would be a stupendous middle finger to their embittered ex-employee.

And frankly, who doesn't want that? Not because we want to pick a side, but because industrial-strength pettiness is the one thing that separates us from the animals. They kill to eat, after all, while we kill to embarrass. That's who we are, and that's why we suck.

Anyway, we need to get the Times and ESPN together to get their stories straight for our amusement. After all, Messi in Miami and Pulisic in Manchester seems so much less flavorful, and if we can spoil those two entrees for the Messi-Manchester/Pulisic-Miami feast, then we have served the reader and the planet in equal measure.

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