Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has offered his thoughts on Lionel Messi’s future and believes the captain “must stay” at the club until he finally decides to hang up his boots.
Messi is currently a free agent after his contract expired at the end of June but is expected to sign a new deal at the Camp Nou before the start of the new La Liga season in August.
Ronaldinho told Tuttomercatoweb that he hopes to see Messi continuing to wear the famous Barcelona No. 10 shirt for a long time to come and that it could even been retired after he departs, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
He said, “He must stay, he is the history of Barcelona. When Messi retires, which I hope will be in a long time, he can leave the No. 10 and nobody will touch it again.”
Ronaldinho was speaking after featuring in a Barcelona Legends match against Real Madrid where he once again stood out with his flair and magic on the ball. The match referee even stopped by in the warm-up to ask for a selfie.
Of course Messi and Ronaldinho played together at Barcelona before the Brazilian left the club in 2008 for AC Milan. Ronaldinho’s move saw Messi take over the No. 10 shirt which he has worn ever since.
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Messi Contact Announcement Delayed Until August
Messi’s future had dominated headlines all summer but the captain has reportedly agree a five-year deal with the Catalan giants after agreeing a “significant pay cut,” according to Ferran Correas at L’Esportiu.
It had been thought the deal would be announced in July but it is not expected to happen now until August, according to Albert Masnou at Diario Sport. The clubs needs to trim the squad and convince the team’s top earners to accept pay-cuts before Messi’s renewal can be announced.
However, a club source told Masnou that the club is keen to secure Messi’s future as soon as possible, “We want the contract to be signed. Time is ticking, but we can’t rush things. Some timescales need to be respected.”
Messi Due Back To Training on August 2
Messi is currently on vacation after helping Argentina win the Copa America in Brazil and has been happy to share some of his experiences with his family on social media.
The 34-year-old is due to return to training on April 2 along with Sergio Aguero and new arrival Emerson Royal, according to Javier Miguel at Diario AS. The trio will start off with solo training sessions as the rest of the squad will be in Germany for pre-season friendlies against Stuttgart and Red Bull Salzburg.
Ronald Koeman is hoping the trio can enjoy some first-team minutes in the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus on August 8. The traditional curtain-raiser comes one week before the club’s first La Liga game of the new campaign against Real Sociedad on August 15.