Argentina legend and ex-goalkeeper Hugo Gatti nicknamed ‘The Madman’ during his playing days, has told Lionel Messi to join Real Madrid to prove he is truly among football’s all-time greats, Concise News reports.
Gatti believes his compatriot whose entire senior career has been spent with Barcelona will not be able to cement himself with the likes of Diego Maradona, Pele and Johan Cruyff without proving himself at another club.
The 75-year-old also referenced Messi’s lack of success with Argentina as a factor against him.
“It seems as if I am anti-Argentine, but until Messi performs in the big games, he will continue to be a player of home games,” Gatti said on TV show ‘ El Chiringuito de Jugones ‘.
“He has to have balls to go to Real Madrid and prove everything there like Cristiano [Ronaldo did]. Otherwise he will be just one more [player].
“Cristiano went to the best club in the world. Messi plays at home, on his pitch with everything [that comes with that in terms of home comforts].
“Let him perform in the Champions League and the World Cup, otherwise he will always be one more [player].
“When he performs there, he will fight with [Johan] Cruyff, [Diego] Maradona and Pele.
“Messi performs when they let him perform. It’s very easy to perform with everything in your favour at home,” Gatti stated.
Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi – captain of Argentina – has won a record six FIFA Ballon d’or/Best FIFA Men’s Player awards, and a record six European Golden Shoes.
With Barcelona, he has won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey.
A prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (423), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (173) and the Copa América (13).
He has netted over 700 senior career goals for club and country.
On Tuesday in La Liga, he scored two goals and set up two more as Barcelona extended its winning streak and regained the Spanish league lead by comfortably defeating Valladolid 5-1.