Argentina’s president makes Messi plea


Argentina's president makes Messi plea
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Alaves - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - August 18, 2018 Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Albert Gea

In Summary

  • The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, has publicly urged Lionel Messi to return to play professionally in his homeland for the first time
  • The six-time Ballon d'Or sent shockwaves around the world of football last week by formally requesting a transfer from Camp Nou

The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, has publicly urged Lionel Messi to return to play professionally in his homeland for the first time.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is looking to leave Barcelona this summer after 20 years and a glut of major silverware having sent shockwaves around the world of football last week by formally requesting a transfer from Camp Nou.

Manchester City – who have the financial means to pull off such a high-profile deal – are widely considered as the front-runners to land Messi, with Pep Guardiola having previously coached the 33-year-old in Catalonia and former Barca duo Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain also now working at Etihad Stadium.

City firmly believe they are Messi’s preferred next destination, though LaLiga ruled yesterday that his Sh90 billion release clause must be met in order for a departure from Barcelona to be secured, with the player originally believing that a clause allowing him to leave for free was still active.

Messi – who did not report for pre-season medical testing on Sunday – has been at Barca since the age of 13, spending his entire senior career in Spain and never getting the chance to compete at senior level in Argentina.

Mr Fernandez has now called on one of the country’s most famous sons to remedy that and return to Newell’s Old Boys, where he played as a youngster before making the move to Europe.

“You are in our hearts and we have never seen you play in our country,” the Argentine President said via news channel C5N.

“Give us the pleasure of ending your career with Newell’s Old Boys, your club.”

Mr Fernandez’s comments come days after Newell’s Old Boys fans gathered in a giant convoy of cars in Rosario to try to convince Messi to come back to his hometown club and follow in the footsteps of legendary compatriot Diego Maradona, who headed to Rosario after leaving Europe back in 1993.

-Report by standard.co.uk

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