WAYNE ROONEY has urged Lionel Messi to join one of the two Manchester giants and win a seventh Ballon d'Or.
The Argentina superstar's future is grabbing all the headlines after he sensationally handed in a transfer request on Tuesday.
Messi, 33, has been linked with moves across the globe including Man City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and a swansong in the US.
But Rooney, who claims Messi pips old team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as the best ever, believes he should continue his career in England.
He told talkSPORT: "I know he’s getting older but he’s a player who no one has seen before.
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"Messi has everything – he can create goals, score goals, dictate the game and is the best player of all time.
“He’s one of the only players I’ve sat there and watched and been in awe.
“Him and Cristiano Ronaldo have set a standard which I don’t think we will ever see again but, for me, Messi is just different level.
“The United States shouldn’t be in his mind because he’s too good.
“He could come to the Premier League and be a Player of the Year. One million per cent.
“If he surrounds himself with Bruno Fernandes or Kevin De Bruyne he could win a seventh Ballon d’Or, which would be incredible.”
It is not the first time Rooney has claimed Messi comes out on top in his fierce rivalry against Ronaldo.
Man City have emerged as favourites to secure his signature but it is all is likely to depend on Messi's contract debacle at Barca.
The Argentine asked to exploit a clause in his deal to let him leave for nothing this summer.
On paper, Messi needed to make the admission before June 10 but his representatives believe it should be extended until the end of August because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona are adamant the clause has expired and will only let him leave if a club matches his £630million release clause.
SunSport exclusively revealed City are prepared to move for Messi but need to be sure he's 100 per cent committed to making the move after getting burnt in the past.
Messi’s current package at the Nou Camp, in basic wages, bonuses and image rights, is worth around £100m a year.
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