After Lionel Messi‘s shock departure from Barcelona FC, Aussie footy clubs are jostling to court the football great. And by footy clubs we don’t just mean soccer. If these open letters and hastily photoshopped images are to be taken seriously, we could even see Messi punting an AFL ball come next season.

Let’s start with the correct code first.

Ian Smith, Chairman of the Adelaide United advisory board, penned an open letter to the Argentine star that for some reason focused less on soccer and more on his personal life.

“There are many reasons why you will love Adelaide, our state and Australia,” he wrote, noting that the state’s managed the coronavirus pandemic “extremely well”, at least “in comparison to other destinations”

He also mentioned the city’s “Mediterranean-style climate” and the plethora of “good Argentinian restaurants” nearby.

Eventually, the whole thing descended into what’s basically an ad for Adelaide (no pun intended?). Among other things, he listed beautiful beaches, world-class universities (not sure why that’s relevant), Kangaroo Island and the state’s iconic wine region.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory pledged their entire recruitment budget to woo Messi, which, tbh, is far more appealing than Adelaide’s proximity to *checks notes* the Flinders Ranges.

Marvin, the mascot of the Central Coast Mariners, also posted… something.

But most soccer clubs actually beaten by a slew of AFL clubs, all hoping he’d be keen to have a crack at the sport which confuses not only most non-Australians, but even many non-Victorians.

Squaring back in on South Australia for a tick, Port Adelaide practically manifested Messi as a part of the team.

Then there was North Melbourne, which shared a mockup of what could be Messi’s blue and white guernsey.

Meanwhile Carlton released their own “communicado oficial”, flexing their Google Translate skills in order to court the native Spanish speaker.

As for a bunch of other clubs, it seems they were too busy celebrating International Dog Day to post about the soccer legend.

Messi, for his part, has not commented on any potential plans to relocate to Australia. Do not get your hopes up.