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Rivaldo Exclusive: Lionel Messi will end his career at Barcelona

Lionel Messi playing for Barcelona
Messi could end his career at Barca

Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo says Barca won't lose their star this summer, tells Neymar to focus on the now and backs Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid against Liverpool...

Liverpool are one of the best teams on the planet but Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is a fighter who can get the best from his players against the Reds next week."

I'm not buying the speculation about a potential Lionel Messi move from Barcelona at the end of the season. Honestly, I think he will end his career at Camp Nou. He has been one of us since he was 14-years-old. He has a big affection for the club and the club for him, so I don't think he would benefit from leaving.

Messi is a one club man

I see him as a player of just one club, like Francesco Totti in AS Roma or Rogério Ceni at São Paulo.

It's tough to conceive of the idea of watching Messi playing against Barca in the Champions League, so even if he leaves in the future I imagine him more outside Europe, in China or the MLS on a transfer motivated more by financial than sporting reasons.

He hasn't scored in his last three matches and many commentators are saying the problem at the club, following Messi's criticism of Eric Abida, is the main reason for that. But I don't see it that way and think we'll soon have Messi scoring again. The team has returned to winning way, as we saw last weekend when they beat Real Betis 3-2.

Messi provided his teammates with two assists and that's important as he plays a central role in Barca's attack, with his passing skills crucial to generating good chances. His class is undeniable, so I don't see reasons for concern.

Any team would love to sign Messi

Manchester City are among the clubs being linked to Messi. The Argentinian attacker could play at any club in the world but, as Pep Guardiola said recently, Messi should continue at Barcelona.

Pep Guardiola cardigan 1280.jpg

Other rumours mention Juventus as another possible club for Messi and there he could form a delightful partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo. That seems highly unlikely. Yes, it would be a pleasure to see two huge players playing together, but I don't see it as a realistic move.

I'm always available to collaborate with Barcelona

There will be new elections at Barcelona in 2021 and there are already many names circulating about possible presidents or directors. I'm available to help the club at any time and work again in this great organization.

The current president Josep Bartomeu even talked to me at the start of his tenure - we discussed an eventual collaboration and also took some photos, but we've had no further discussions since then, which was about three years ago. Anyway, I'm always available for Barcelona.

My ex-teammate Willian José is a quality player

Apparently, Barcelona have been trying to sign Willian José from Real Sociedad to strengthen the attack. I know this player well because I played with him at São Paulo.

At the time, he would have been about 19 or 20-years-old and was already showing sings of quality. He ended up proving it, moving to Europe and establishing himself as an interesting player at La Liga. Now aged 28, this could be the perfect moment for him to move to a bigger challenge at Barcelona.

It would be totally different from playing for Real Sociedad, but sometimes playing at a club like Barcelona makes it easier to score goals more often. So yes, he could be an interesting signing for Barcelona.

Vinicius Jr. needs to maintain his consistency

Vinicius is improving match after match at Real Madrid and needs to maintain his focus at every training session and match to keep earning his manager's confidence, as quality.

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It's never easy to establish yoursel as a regular starter at a club with as many options as Real Madrid and with so many players fighting for the same goal. But the young Brazilian is working well, improving his finishing and proving his quality in every game.

He is on the right track to keep earning more and more playing time from Zidane.

Neymar should focus on the present

David Beckham recently said Neymar could play for his new club Inter Miami in 10 years and that's something that might happen.

This is a common move from older players in Europe these days, to move to peripheral leagues that pay extravagant salaries and demand less intensity in the games. But I think Neymar should only think about the present now.

He is producing an excellent season at PSG and needs to keep his focus in the game to fight for his most wished individual trophy - Ballon D'Or - but he needs to make the difference for his team in the Champions League to make it possible.

NeymarJan20.jpg

Next week he has a big test against Borussia Dortmund and it's crucial that he's at his best to help his team pursue their objectives.

There's no point in thinking in the future now. Neymar should focus on the present and try to bring his best football to the important games ahead. That's the only path to reach his goal of becoming the best player in the world.

Simeone has good chance to silence critics by beating Liverpool

As we all know, Liverpool are currently one of the best teams on the planet. But football is tough to preview, and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is a fighter who can get the best from his players against Liverpool next week.

Atleti are underdogs in this tie but they have a chance to recapture their confidence and intensity by eliminating the defending champions. It would be a perfect way for Simeone to silence his critics but, of course, Liverpool is favourite to go through to the next round.

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