Maxi Biancucchi has explained that his cousin Lionel Messi is unlikely to play club football in Argentina due to safety reasons.
Messi spent the first six years of his youth career at his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in his home city of Rosario and there have been hints that he will aim to end his career at the club.
The Argentine star has a clause in his current contract at the Camp Nou – which is the most lucrative in global football – which allows him to leave on a free transfer at the end of each season, should he wish to do so.
That has sparked alarm in the Catalan capital following the 32-year-old’s comments on Instagram in February, where he was heavily critical of the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal.
Messi subsequently ruled out an exit in an interview with El Mundo Deportivo in which he played down concerns that he would exit the Camp Nou.
“If it was not for the safety issues in the country, I would have no doubts about saying he will return to Argentina to play,” Biancucchi told Radio Club Octubre, via ESPN.
“For me, and I have not spoken with him about it, those safety issues could affect his decision to come back.
“It is my dream to see him play for Newell’s but it’s complicated. Imagine if he has to play in a Clasico [Newell’s vs. Rosario Central] and the kids have to go to school…It’s difficult. The city is hell.
“The roots he has in Argentina and the love he has for the country is something that people don’t quite understand.
“He’s always branded as being Spanish, but he’s really Argentine, in his own way. He goes to Argentina for his holidays, he got married in Rosario.”