Lionel Messi News: Barcelona captain admits he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at Real Madrid
What's the story?
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has admitted that he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at Real Madrid as he believes the Portuguese talisman's presence elevated the quality of El Clasico and La Liga as a whole.
In case you didn't know...
Messi and Ronaldo have been at the centre of one of football's greatest on-field rivalries, intensifying their duel by playing for arch-rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winners have, however, not faced each other since Ronaldo made a switch to Juventus in the summer of 2018. The 34-year-old forward has since won the Serie A title and the Supercoppa Italiana with the Bianconeri, finishing his debut campaign as the league's best player.
Meanwhile, Messi remained at Barcelona and led the Catalan giants to another La Liga title last season, when he netted 51 goals in all competitions. His goalscoring exploits earned him the European Golden Shoe as well as the Pichichi trophy.
The talismanic pair reunited at the UEFA awards ceremony back in August in a night that saw Ronaldo famously invite Messi out for dinner.
The heart of the matter
In an interview with RAC1, Messi has expressed regret at Ronaldo's decision to move to Juventus, stating that he wanted him to continue with Los Blancos.
The Argentine said, via Daily Mail,
"I wanted him to continue with Real Madrid. He gave a plus to the rivalry in the Clasico and La Liga.
He added, "Real Madrid will continue to challenge because they have very good players, but I already said that the team was going to feel his loss for what he meant and that the squad would notice. But they have plenty of players to allow them to fight for every title and they have a lot of history."
While Barcelona will return to action when they face Eibar in La Liga on October 19th, Juventus are next scheduled to face Bologna in Serie A on the same day.