Barcelona legend Ronaldinho says it would be "bad for football" if Lionel Messi left the Camp Nou club in the summer.
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Messi's future has been the subject of speculation over recent months, as talks over a new contract have dragged on and on, amid rumours that the Barca board had considered putting the 26-year-old up for sale for 250 million euros to use the cash for a complete overhaul of the squad this summer.
The Argentine's friend and former teammate told AS that such thinking made no sense to him as any Barcelona future must be built around the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.
"Without a doubt, I believe [Messi] is the best player in the world," Ronaldinho said. "He is the most key player for Barca to continue being the Barca of before. I cannot imagine Messi at another club which is not Barca, but as his friend, I want to see him happy. For the good of football, I want to see him at Barcelona."
Ronaldinho said Messi's teammate Neymar's first season at Barca had been a decent one, and that his fellow Brazilian would go on to make history at the club.
"A period of adaptation is normal," he said. "He has begun well, but he has a lot more games to play and joy to bring to Barca fans. He is one of the players who will be the future of Brazilian football. I hope he can win everything he dreams about because Barca is the biggest club in the world, and I believe he can make history there."
The 2002 World Cup winner, now 34, said he had not been surprised to be left out of Luiz Felipe Scolari's plans for the coming World Cup.
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"After not being in some squads, I already knew it was going to be difficult to take part," Ronaldinho said. "I hope that Brazil can have an excellent World Cup, and can win the trophy. They are favourites, playing at home, favourites without any doubt."
The former Paris Saint-Germain and Milan star, who is now at Atletico Mineiro back in his home country, said he had no plans to return to European club football, even with Turkish side Besiktas apparently having made him an offer for next season.
"I do miss all the people in Europe," Ronaldinho said. "But this is a very good moment here, with the Libertadores... So I decided to stay here a bit longer."