How high-profile the ongoing Lionel Messi transfer saga has become can now be easily ascertained from the fact that even Argentina President Alberto Fernandez has sent his message to the icon, urging him to finish his career with boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys. Also Read - Football Transfer: Luis Suarez Leaves Barcelona For Atletico Madrid
Messi stunned the football world last week when it was revealed he wants to exit FC Barcelona, a club with which he has been associated with since his early teens. That this time, it’s not a pressure tactic to make the club accept his demands is was evident when he deliberately avoided appearing for a mandatory pre-season medical testing at the club’s training facility on Sunday. Also Read - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo Miss Out on UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award; Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer Nominated
Now, Fernandez has wished to see Mess play in Argentina. Also Read - Lionel Messi's Reaction After Barcelona Lift Joan Gamper Trophy Will Make You Depressed | WATCH
“You are in our hearts and we have never seen you play in our country,” Fernandez said in a message directed at Messi via C5N. “Give us the pleasure of ending your career with Newell’s Old Boys, your club.”
Fernandez though supports Argentinos Juniors and admits to admire Diego Maradona more than Messi.
“The great merit of Maradona is that he played alone against the world,” Fernandez said. “I’ve never seen a player like Maradona. I admire him deeply – more than Messi, to be honest, because he comes from the Argentinos’ youth. He was a kind of gladiator, with incredible strength.”
Meanwhile, in an official statement, La Liga has said that Messi cannot leave Barcelona unless his €700m release clause is paid.
“The contract is currently valid and contains a release clause which is applicable should Lionel Messi decide to trigger the early unilateral termination of the contract, in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985 of 26 June, which regulates the special employment status that professional sportspeople have,” a statement from the club read.
“In compliance with the applicable regulations and protocol that apply in such instances, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa-release process for the player to be unregistered from the (Royal Spanish Football) Federation if the sum in the aforementioned clause has not been paid beforehand,” it added.
The 33-year-old reportedly wants to meet with the Barcelona board to discuss terms of his release but the club is only interested in talks of a new contract.
Several clubs are in race to secure Messi’s signature should he leave Barcelona with Premier League’s Manchester City leading the race.