So Lionel Messi probably will not be checking the television guide to see which channel shows Sheffield United versus Wolves tomorrow. His Manchester City bow could have come at Molineux next week, but his divorce from Barcelona will take another year to arrange. Instead, the City debutants might be the less famous Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres.
It continues a theme. The Premier League may be the world’s best league but the planet’s outstanding player is rarely found there. Only two of the last 40 Ballon d’Or winners have come from English clubs and both Michael Owen and Cristiano Ronaldo soon decamped to Real Madrid.