Although Lionel Messi has made the heart-wrenching decision to leave Barcelona, Brazil legend Ronaldo 'El Fenomeno' believes that the Argentine will always have a soft spot for the LaLiga giants, having spent two decades at the Camp Nou. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner sent shockwaves across the football world when he told Barcelona he wants to leave the club earlier this week. Barcelona are still trying to keep hold of the 33-year-old amid interest from several top European suitors.
While speaking at a webinar hosted by Santander, the 43-year-old Ronaldo explained why Lionel Messi and Barcelona should stick together due to the strong bond that has formed over the past 20 years. Ronaldo went on to admit that it might be strange for him to see Lionel Messi leave the Camp Nou due to the ongoing crisis at the club. "They (Barcelona and Messi) have a special bond and I don't see Messi leaving the club, especially since Barcelona are in such turmoil right now". said Ronaldo.
Lionel Messi has a reported €700 million clause in his Barcelona contract which could be waived off, meaning he would be available as a free agent over the summer. Having played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, Ronaldo is well aware of the connection that a player has with a top LaLiga club. He went on to add: "If I were at Barcelona, I wouldn't let Messi leave because he is the core of the team and has a great relationship with the club and the fans. I don't think he will ever stop loving Barcelona", explained Ronaldo.
After news broke that Lionel Messi is keen on a transfer away from Barcelona, top suitors in Europe, including Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and the two Manchester clubs were put on red alert. However, it seems that Pep Guardiola's Man City are favourites to sign Messi and lure him to the Etihad. Messi is reportedly pondering reuniting with his former coach and playing alongside best friend and international teammate, Sergio Aguero.
Josep Bartomeu wants to convince Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona, but the player doesn’t want to speak with him. He has already decided to leave and will hold his stance until the end.— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) August 27, 2020
[@Luis_F_Rojo via @HagridFCB]
Barcelona have still not given up on keeping hold of Messi but it seems that the humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final of the Champions League was the final nail in the coffin following a disastrous 2019-20 campaign. Barcelona recently appointed Ronald Koeman to take charge of the club and the Dutchman has claimed that Messi still remains a crucial part of his project. Meanwhile, Man City are planning to offer Barcelona cash plus a player in exchange for Messi.