The Argentina captain has been urged to move to Santiago Bernabeu to cement himself alongside Diego Maradona, Pele and Johan Cruyff
Former Boca Juniors goalkeeper Hugo Gatti believes international compatriot Lionel Messi needs to move from Barcelona to arch-rivals Real Madrid in order to prove he has been the best soccer professional in history.
Gatti suggests that Messi – whose entire senior career has been spent with Barcelona – will not be able to compete with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Pele without proving himself at another club.
The retired shot-stopper also referenced Messi’s lack of success on the international stage as a factor against him, with the forward and Argentina falling at the final hurdle at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“It seems as if I am anti-Argentine, but until Messi performs in the big games, he will continue to be a soccer professional of home games,” Gatti said on TV show ‘ El Chiringuito de Jugones ‘.
“He has to have balls to go to Real Madrid and prove everything there like Cristiano [Ronaldo did]. Otherwise he will be just one more [soccer professional].
“Cristiano went to the best club in the world. Messi plays at home, on his pitch with everything [that comes with that in terms of home comforts].
“Let him perform in the Champions League and the World Cup, otherwise he will always be one more [soccer professional]. When he performs there, he will fight with [Johan] Cruyff, [Diego] Maradona and Pele.
“Messi performs when they let him perform. It’s very easy to perform with everything in your favour at home.”
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Messi, now 32 years old, has won a record six Ballons d’Or, scoring 608 goals and recording 247 assists in just 695 appearances for Barcelona across all competitions in his career, claiming La Liga’s top scorer award five times and winning it six times in the Champions League.
He has won a plethora of silverware with Barcelona, including 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copas del Rey.
However, despite playing in three major finals with Argentina – a World Cup and two Copa Americas – Messi and the Albiceleste were beaten each time to leave the forward without an international trophy despite netting 68 goals and registering 44 assists in 136 games for his country.