President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina has called on Lionel Messi to return to his homeland and finish his career with Newell’s Old Boys.
Messi’s future over the past week has dominated headlines since handing in an offer for a dramatic transfer in Barcelona.
Any departure from Camp Nou is now embroiled in turmoil with La Liga recently announced that the Argentine attacker is not allowed to leave the club for anything short of its €700 million release clause (£624m/$823 m) gigantic.
Nevertheless, several clubs are still linked to campaigns for Messi with Manchester City leading the chase, but Paris Saint-Germain, Inter, and Juventus are still linked to interest.
At 33 years of age and individually on the back of another good season, Messi still obviously can play in a top European club but that hasn’t stopped Argentinians from dreaming of a potential homecoming.
Newell’s Old Boys fans have recently paraded through Rosario streets in favor of Messi returning to the team he led as a junior and now Argentina’s president has also expressed his willingness to see such a reunion sooner or later.
“You’re in our hearts and we never saw you playing in our country,” Fernandez said in a message to Messi via C5N.
“Grant us the privilege of finishing your career with the Old Boys of Newell, your club.”
Fernandez, who supports Argentinos Junior’s side of Buenos Aires, went on to confess that he remains Diego Maradona’s bigger fan.
Fernandez said: “Maradona’s great quality is that he has played against the world by himself. I have never seen a player like Maradona. I greatly respect him-more than Messi, to be honest, because he came from the youth of the Argentinians. He was a sort of gladiator, with immense intensity.”