Tuesday 27 September 2016

Lionel Messi reveals he wants a move back to Argentina

Published 02/03/2016 | 15:46

Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters
Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters

Lionel Messi has dealt a blow to Premier League clubs who dream of signing him by saying he wants to return to play in his native Argentina.

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The five-time Ballon d'Or winner began his career with Argentinian outfit Newell's Old Boys before being snapped up by Barcelona's academy in 2001.

The 28-year-old has since gone on to win seven Primera Division titles, three Copa del Reys and four Champions League winners' medals and could add to that tally this season.

Primera Division leaders Barcelona are currently on a 34-match unbeaten run in all competitions and hold a 2-0 lead over Arsenal after the first leg of their last-16 tie in the Champions League.

And while Messi - who has already passed the 30-goal mark this season - has no immediate intention of leaving Spain, he does concede a move back home appeals at some stage.

"It's something that I would still like to do. I don't know when, but it's a possibility," he told Argentinian magazine El Grafico.

"I haven't set myself any goals, short or long term, but I'd like to keep playing whilst my body allows it and I have something to offer the team. When I know that it's time, I'll make a decision."

Messi has been long been linked with a possible move to the Premier League, most recently Manchester City, where his former Barca coach Pep Guardiola will assume control next season.

Manchester United have also been linked with a move for Messi in previous transfer windows, while clubs in the newly-formed Chinese Super League would also dearly love to make the player their marquee signing.

The Argentina captain has scored 49 international goals and is closing in on Gabriel Batistuta's record of 57.

Yet Messi, who guided his country to the World Cup final in 2014 before being beaten in extra time by Germany, admits he would rather win team accolades.

"I prefer to win something with the national team," he said. "I am not interested in records. They are there, but that does not make you win titles.

"I get upset whenever we lose with Argentina because I know that we should have won. We did enough to win the World Cup and the Copa America."

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