Brazil legend Ronaldo has warned Lionel Messi he will never stop loving Barcelona even if he decides to move on this summer.
The 33-year-old added to his club’s increasing woes earlier this week by sending them a fax demanding his contract be terminated via a clause in the agreement.
Barcelona are adamant the clause is not valid as they insist it expired in June and are now battling to keep hold of their captain.
Messi is on extortionate wages at the Nou Camp and Barcelona could alleviate some of the financial pressure on the club by allowing the wantaway star to move on as per his wishes.
But ex-Barcelona and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo feels both parties should stick together due to their everlasting bond.
“It’s very unlikely that he’ll be able to leave Barcelona at the moment, especially when there’s a crisis of results,” Ronaldo said at a webinar hosted by Santander.
“Messi is a reference for the team and, if I were Barcelona, I wouldn’t let him leave in any situation.
“He has a great and strong relationship with the club and I don’t think he’ll stop being in love with the team.”
Sadly for Barcelona, it seems that, at least for now, Messi’s love for the club is not what it once was.
After a turbulent year, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is desperate to move on, with Man City, PSG, and Inter Milan leading the race of potential suitors for his signature.
New Barca boss Ronald Koeman is naturally keen to retain his star man but he faces an uphill struggle amid the turmoil at the club.
The 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League appears to have been the final straw with a mass overhaul now expected at Barcelona.
Quique Setien was immediately replaced by Koeman, sporting director Eric Abidal has resigned, and president Josep Maria Bartomeu is now under pressure to step down as well.
Meanwhile, a number of top stars are facing the axe, with Luis Suarez ready to be the first to go after reportedly being told he was surplus to requirements.
The future of Messi is the key factor though for Barca, and another former club legend – and Ronaldo’s ex-striker partner – Rivaldo, feels a switch to the Premier League could be ideal.
Rivaldo told Betfair: “ Manchester City could be Messi’s best option as his next club.
“He’s 33 but his quality and talent are both unquestionable and I think he still has a few more years at the top. He could quickly start shining in England.
“[Pep] Guardiola has deep knowledge of Messi’s abilities and would find a solution to quickly incorporate him into the team and get the best from him.”