Lionel Messi ‘s friendship with Argentina’s fans is strained, and Lothar Matthaus gave him an alternative, playfully. Germany would send a passport to Lionel Messi if Argentina feels undervalued, joked Lothar Matthaus, who would love to see the Bundesliga star in Barcelona.

Losing in four major finals, Messi was unable to translate the success onto the international stage. His country is still seeking a first senior title since 1993. Coupled with the fact that he spent much of his career in Spain, Argentina ‘s six-time winner of the Ballon d’Or has come in for criticism too.

Messi is relentlessly compared to compatriot Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the glory of the World Cup not as successful at the club level in 1986. Matthaus is confused in his home country by Messi ‘s treatment, and Germany would be more than willing to give him the alternative.

Matthaus, who won the 1990 World Cup and Ballon d’Or, told La NaciĆ³n: “I can’t believe it. If you don’t like Messi, he can come to Germany at any moment, we ‘re waiting with open arms and we’re going to give him a visa. I can’t understand. It’s the same as the debate over whether it’s better for Maradona or Messi. [Argentina] is fortunate to have had these two great players, and they are arguing over which one is better than the other? You have two of history’s greatest football stars.”

It was claimed that the deadline had passed for Messi to trigger a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave Barca for free at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old is expected to sign an extension at Camp Nou but Matthaus would like to see him perform in the Bundesliga regularly.

He said: “Of course we ‘d take him! If we had a chance to get Leo in the Bundesliga we ‘d be very happy. But I’m going, to be honest with you. I am glad to have Messi in football. He’s a brilliant player and a good guy. I know him personally and he happens to make me happy with his play style.”

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