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Luis Milla: “Lionel Messi remains an irreplaceable presence for LaLiga”

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17 Nov 2020
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FC Barcelona

A new start in 2021 may still be sought, with suitors cable of negotiating from January. And there remains a severe threat to those in Catalonia that a talismanic player could force his way through the exits.

Luis Milla urged Messi to stay at Barcelona

Lionel Messi remains an irreplaceable presence for LaLiga, states former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Luis Milla. With Messi urged to stay put, despite seeing “life goes on” after Cristiano Ronaldo changed his life in Spain for that at Juventus. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner over the summer pushed for a move away from Camp Nou. Frustration boiled over at the end of a disappointing 2019-20 campaign as the 33-year-old opened himself up a new challenge. Barça, unsurprisingly, refused to bow to the pressure and Messi eventually revealed that he would celebrate the last year of his deal. A new start in 2021 may still be sought, with suitors cable of negotiating from January. And there remains a severe threat to those in Catalonia that a talismanic player could force his way through the exits.

It’s great for Spanish football that Leo stayed

Milla hopes Messi avoids the same path as Cristiano Ronaldo. The latter linked up with Juventus in 2018, as the Argentine remains the undoubted star turn in Spanish football and leaves a void that may prove nearly impossible to fill. “I think it’s great for Spanish football that Messi stayed. He is an ambitious player and wants to win titles,” Milla told reporters. “That didn’t happen for him last year. He had a bad relationship with the sporting director and didn’t have a good feeling with the directors and the president in general. There was also tension about changing managers over the past season. Messi is a careful player in his approach to situations like this. He knows Barcelona is a club that fits with his style of playing football and shares a winning mentality too.”

“Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo left LaLiga and life goes on, and Messi could go on in the future and life would go on in LaLiga too. With other great players. But players like Messi cannot be replaced, they are one-of-a-kind, one-off players. Yes, LaLiga would survive without Messi, but it wouldn’t be the same. I’m glad he stayed”. Barça are still hoping that Messi can be persuaded in a new environment by extending his career associated with the club. Yet, they are not expected to hold their presidential elections until the end of January 2021. And the door remains open for European rivals to swoop in.

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