Messi hopes Ronaldinho will stay at Barca

Thursday, April 17, 2008
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Barcelona's Argentine striker Lionel Messi(R) said Thursday he hopes Ronaldinho(L), who is being courted by AC Milan, will remain at the club next year.

Barcelona's Argentine striker Lionel Messi said Thursday he hopes Ronaldinho, who is being courted by AC Milan, will remain at the club next year.

"At Barca, we want everyone to remain at the club. If he goes, I will be sad," he said.

"He has helped me a lot to integrate into the team. Any team would like to have him. I still hope that he will stay."

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said on Sunday that the reigning European champions have come to an agreement with Ronaldinho over a possible summer transfer.

Former twice world player of the year Ronaldinho has fallen out with Barcelona this season as a dip in form and frequent off-field indiscretions have seen the love affair between club and player come to a bitter end after five years.

He is currently sidelined with a leg injury that could keep him out of Barcelona's run-in, where they are chasing La Liga and Champions League glory.

Messi had been sidelined since tearing a muscle in his left leg on March 5 but returned to action on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Recreativo Huelva, coming on as substitute on 64 minutes.

The Argentine said he hoped to spend longer on the pitch on Saturday against Espanyol, in order to be fit to face Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final next Wednesday.

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