Lionel Messi: Will the ex-Barca star accepts Cristiano Ronaldo’s challenge by going to Italy?

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FC Barcelona shocked the world on Thursday, August 5, 2021, when they announced that Lionel Messi would no longer stay at the club. The announcement came in the week most fans of the club expected the club to announce Messi’s contract renewal.

The 34-year-old Argentine football icon had to leave his childhood club because the club could not meet up with La Liga’s financial fair play even though Messi had agreed to accept a 50 percent pay cut for a proposed new contract which did not see the light of the day.

Hence, since Barcelona confirmed that Messi would no longer stay at the club, the announcement has thrown up a series of arguments which is centered around Messi’s potential transfer move.

These arguments brought to mine a statement his perceived career rival, Cristiano Ronaldo made at a press conference in the 2020-2021 season. During the press conference, the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon who currently plays for Italian Serie A side, Juventus, was asked whether he would like to have Messi in Italy.

The press asked Ronaldo this question then because of the uncertainty in the future of Messi who played his entire football career at FC Barcelona.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

To the dismay of many, Ronaldo told the press that he would love to have Lionel Messi in Italy if he was not happy at FC Barcelona. He urged the record 6 times Ballon d’Or winner to accept the challenge.

“I’d like him to come to Italy one day,” Ronaldo said. “I hope he accepts the challenge of leaving his comfort zone.

“But if he’s happy at Barcelona, then, of course, I respect that.”

From all indications, it might be extremely difficult to see Lionel Messi move to Italian Serie A due to the financial burden such a deal might attract. The only club that is most likely to afford Messi’s wages in the league is Juventus, and they might not want to have two expensive players – Messi and Ronaldo on their payroll.

Recall that there was a point reports went viral claiming that the wages of Ronaldo were already a burden to Juventus and that the Portuguese football star might leave the club because of that. But Ronaldo who still has a season left on his contract with Juventus hung on to his contract with the club.

Except anything extraordinary happens, even if Lionel Messi decides to accept Ronaldo’s challenge, it might be impossible for any club to place him on their payroll at this point.

Hence, France and England remained Messi’s most likely destination if there is no new twist to the saga between him and FC Barcelona.

Recall that before now, Premier League club, Manchester City have shown interest in signing the 34-year-old football star but then, it was not certain whether he would stay at Barcelona or not.

Though the club just signed 25-year-old English footballer Jack Grealish, a versatile player who can play almost all the roles Messi plays, coach Pep Guardiola would not mind an extra touch from Messi in 2021-2022 season.

On the other hand, French Ligue 1 side, Paris Saint Germain have shown interest in signing the Argentina International. Long before now too, PSG’s talisman, Neymar who played with Messi at Barcelona between 20013 and 2017 said he wanted to reunite with Messi. Hence, this summer looks like the moment that might happen.

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