Newell's fans await hero Messi, but maybe not just yet

Messi announced he wanted to leave Barcelona on Tuesday after spending his entire career at the Catalan club, sparking a debate over where he might go.

While many Newells fans are content to wait for their heros return, others were not so patient, with hundreds of supporters taking to the streets of the provincial city on Thursday night to show their support.   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi has never hidden his desire to play for hometown club Newells Old Boys and though his decision to leave Barcelona prompted dancing in the streets of Rosario on Thursday, most fans know he's probably not coming home just yet.

Officials and supporters of the club believe Messi will one day pull on their distinctive half red, half blue shirt but they are aware that at the age of 33, Messi probably has a few more years in Europe before heading home for a romantic swan song.

"As a Newells fan I want him to come here but we know its impossible," Daniel Valvi, a 65-year old retiree, told reporters in Rosario, a city of 1.5 million people 300km northwest of Buenos Aires.

READ: Oh Barca, what a Messi situation- Camp Nou's crisis in memes

"If he does come hell come in four years or so when hes almost done so he can say, Im playing a few games for Newells and then Im retiring."

Messi announced he wanted to leave Barcelona on Tuesday after spending his entire career at the Catalan club.

The decision sparked a furore as the internet erupted with debate over where he might go.

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"Olele, Olala, Messi is Newell's, he's not going to City," chanted fans, brought together by social media and ignoring social distancing.   -  Getty Images

 

News reports in Argentina and Spain said the six-times world player of the year wished to head for Manchester City and rejoin Pep Guardiola, his coach at Barcelona during a gloriously successful spell.

Other reports said Inter Milan, Juventus or Paris St Germain might be willing to break the bank to lure one of the best players of all time.

READ:
Where next for Lionel Messi?

But while many Newells fans are content to wait for their heros return, others were not so patient, with hundreds of supporters taking to the streets of the provincial city on Thursday night to show their support.

A parade of cars made its way from Newell's Marcelo Bielsa stadium to the Rosario city centre with fans tooting horns, hanging from the windows waving flags, and singing songs.

"Olele, Olala, Messi is Newell's, he's not going to City," chanted fans, brought together by social media and ignoring social distancing.

Club officials are equally hopeful of seeing Messi return but they are conscious it is most likely a question not of now but of when.

"We dont have to make any call," Juan Jose Concina, Newells secretary general told a local radio station in Rosario this week.

"No one knows more clearly than he does that Newells wants him to come here. And that is not dependent on a phone call. We have to be cool about it.

"Its not just about Newells, his arrival here is good not just for our institution but for Argentine football as a whole. Thats why I agree that its a question of state, because it would be a real boost for the game in Argentina."

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