Zurich, Jan 13 (IANS) European champions FC Barcelona’s star forward Lionel Messi said on Wednesday he would like to someday return to his native Argentina and play club football there.
The Argentina national team skipper on Monday won an unprecedented fifth FIFA Ballon d’Or award, given to the footballer of the year by world football’s governing body FIFA.
Messi was born in the city of Rosario in Argentina in 1987 and was raised there till the age of 13, rising through the youth ranks at club Newell’s Old Boys.
He relocated to Spain to join FC Barcelona at the age of 13.
“It was always my dream when I was a boy, though I had to leave at a very early age because of my situation and it didn’t happen. I had to go to Europe, start out with Barcelona and make my career there. But I would like to return to Argentinian football one day. What happens after that, only God knows,” Messi was quoted as saying by FIFA on Wednesday.
Messi said he believes Argentina will win a major international trophy soon after failing in the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and Copa America in 2015.
“We can’t see when it’s going to end and when we’ll finally win something with the national team. After everything we’ve been fighting for, we deserve it. We’ve played quite a few finals now and not won any of them. Someday it’s bound to happen.”
Messi expressed happiness at winning the coveted Ballon d’Or award and thanked his fans for their continued support. He added he never thought he could win it for a record five times.
“Obviously, I’m very happy because of what it means. I never imagined I’d win it five times. If I think back to the first, in 2009, a lot of things have changed. I’ve grown and learned so much in football and in life.”
“I’d just like to thank all the people who love me, who follow me in Barcelona, Argentina and around the world and I want to share this award with them. This is for them also,” he said.
Speaking about his chemistry with Barcelona teammates Neymar and Luis Suarez, the 28-year-old said, “I think it’s all down to the chemistry between the three of us, both on and off the pitch, and the type of people that we are too. We all want the best for the team, for the squad. That’s more important than anything else.”
Messi deserves the Ballon d’Or, says Antonio Habas
Indian Super League franchise Atletico de Kolkata’s (ATK) coach Antonio Lopez Habas believes Argentina’s talismanic forward Lionel Messi deserves the FIFA Ballon d’Or which he clinched for a record fifth time.
Messi edged past Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Neymar to hold aloft the prestigious trophy at a gala ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, on Sunday.
“I think that Messi deserves the award,” Habas told IANS from Spain on Wednesday.
The 58-year-old helped ATK win the ISL in its inaugural season in 2014. The former Valencia coach said there are certain players who can make it to the top three nominations next time, and added that Neymar can be the winner next season.
“I think that there are some players that could be inside three positions, and maybe Neymar can be higher up the next season,” he said.