Argentina’s state president Alberto Fernandez wants national team star and six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi to return to his homeland to finish his football career.
Messi has formally sent a transfer request to Camp Nou after 20 years at the club.
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 play domestic football in Argentina.
Fernandez has now called on Messi to 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,” he said.
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.
La Liga ruled this week that Messi’s €700million release clause must be met in order for a departure from Barcelona to be secured.
Several clubs are in the race to secure Messi’s signature should he leave Barcelona with Premier League’s Manchester City leading the race.
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By Ofhani Munyai