Lionel Messi ‘asks’ for Barcelona ‘tribute match’ amid claims Cristiano Ronaldo is ‘better’

Joe Williams
Barcelona legend Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi could play one last match for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi is looking to return to Barcelona in order to play one last match with arrangements ‘beginning to take shape’, according to reports in Spain.

The Argentina international scored 672 goals in 778 appearances in all competitions during his time at the Camp Nou, winning ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Reys, seven Spanish Super Cups, four Champions Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cups.

Barcelona to hold a Lionel Messi ‘tribute match’

There were rumours at the time that Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 that he could return to play for Barcelona again one day and it now seems that he will but only in a ‘tribute match’.

Spanish publication Nacional insist that the relationship between Messi and Barcelona ‘continues to be good’ and the legendary Argentina attacker has ‘asked’ Joan Laporta if he can represent the Blaugrana once again.

The report claims Laporta ‘aware that a large part of the culé fans wanted to see one of their greatest idols wearing the Blaugrana shirt again and he did everything in his power to try to fulfill this desire’.

However, ‘Messi’s will was clear’ with the Argentina international ready to ‘enjoy his last years as a professional in a more relaxed environment’ at Inter Miami after winning everything possible in football.

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And now the report adds that Barcelona will ‘hold a tribute match to pay tribute to his career as a footballer and say goodbye to the fans who, due to the COVID pandemic, could not see close to his idol during his last days at the club.’

Both Barcelona and Messi ‘have decided to hold a match at the Nou Camp Nou against the Argentina team’ and the plan is he will play one half for each side.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of Messi’s biggest rivals throughout his career and the debate will probably rage on forever about who the better player is.

And former Aston Villa star Dion Dublin is the latest pundit to have their say on whether Messi or Ronaldo is better.

Dublin told William Hill: “I think Cristiano Ronaldo is a better goalscorer than Lionel Messi. I think Messi is the better footballer, but Ronaldo is the best goalscorer in the world.

“This is how good Ronaldo was as a goalscorer; I scored 111 goals during my stint in the Premier League as a striker, he has scored something like 63 hat-tricks. How can someone have done that? It’s crazy!”

Sam Allardyce: Messi vs Ronaldo was an amazing time for football

Former England boss Sam Allardyce also offered his thoughts on the Messi-Ronaldo debate, he added: “We had the best time of it watching Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo competing against each other year in, year out, in Spain for ten years or so on the trot.

“They were both hitting 30, 40 goals a season each season, with neither of them playing as a centre forward. Ronaldo might’ve ended up there in the later years but he’s always played wide, and Messi just played anywhere he wanted!

“The Ballon d’Or every year was just a case of wondering which one of those two it was going to be that year! It was an amazing time to just watch two world class players at the same time.

“I heard a statistic about how many goals Erling Haaland would have to score to catch Ronaldo’s tally, it was something like 50 goals a year! I remember when I first saw Ronaldo when he came on as a sub against Bolton when he’d just been bought from Portugal – he just destroyed Nicky Hunt in defence! I was standing there in the dugout thinking, ‘wow’.”

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