Messi: Former Nigeria striker Ezeji encourages Barcelona star to stay one more season

Lionel Messi Barcelona
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The 33-year-old reversed his decision to quit the club he has been associated with since 2001

Former Nigeria striker Vitor Ezeji is of the opinion Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi should spend one more season at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine maestro sent shockwaves across the football world when he sent a Burofax to the Barca hierarchy stating his intentions of wanting to leave the Catalan capital.

This came on the back of Barca’s 8-2 Champions League quarter-final bashing at the hands of Bayern Munich, making it the third season in a row the five-time European champions exited on a sour note.

Messi, however, backtracked his desire of wanting to take that action and has revealed in an exclusive with Goal that he is keen to continue with the Blaugrana due to the bond and love he has for the club he has been with since the age of 13.

Messi has a year left to run on his current contract with a release clause set at €700 million. Having tried to force a move away, Ezeji believes he should simply spend the 2020-21 season in Catalonia, knowing he will be a free agent at the end of it.

“I’m very sure he [Messi] must have had a second thought. He must have known the consequences as well because the decision he took was not in his best interest, but only him knows why he took that decision,” Ezeji told Goal.

“One more season won’t do him any harm, then he can go as a free agent. So I think he would have considered that in no time one season will be here and he will go as a free agent instead of all this problem surrounding his move. I think it’s a wise one for him to retrace his steps and decided to stay back at Barcelona.”

Ezeji on Messi PS

Ezeji believes Messi must remain at Barcelona so he can lead the team as captain and win titles. This, according to the former Enyimba player, will make way for a better exit for the Rosario native.

“Being the professional that he is, I think he will always give his best. He is the captain of the team and will ensure things are OK even though [there is a planned] exodus of players from the club. He will have to stay and see what happens next,” Ezeji continued.

“Overall, wisdom must come into play. Let Messi take his time, do his thing for another season for Barcelona, win as much trophies as he can with the team, then he can quietly leave without all this noise.”

When quizzed on why Messi didn’t think through on the consequences of his initial action of wanting to leave, Ezeji said: “Sometimes you just try your luck and see what happens. If Barcelona had kept quiet, probably he would have benefited from it, but he has tried and seen it didn’t work so that’s why he is staying back.”

Ezeji on Messi PS

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Ezeji concluded by insisting Messi is unlikely to stay beyond the upcoming season and anything that makes him extend his stay will depend on events during the campaign, under the eye of former Blaugrana player turned manager Ronald Koeman.

“For him to stay back, it will be a mouth-watering offer. If not that, he will definitely move. It’s not about him being emotional, it’s about what he wants. If he decides to leave, I’m very sure not matter what juicy contract they present to him, he might not want to stay back,” Ezeji concluded.

“If he decides that he is done with them, he will have to move on and try somewhere else, but I think all these things will play out in the coming months, then we can see if he’s really staying back or moving.”