Wayne Rooney has urged Lionel Messi to make a spectacular move to the Premier League with either Manchester United or Manchester City, believing the Argentine could claim a seventh Ballon d'Or if he made the switch to England.
Barcelona's greatest ever goalscorer and player is close to leaving the Camp Nou after informing club officials on Tuesday that he would like to be let go from his current contract.
That news catalysed shockwaves around European football, with every elite club linked with a transfer which would undoubtedly be the biggest ever in the history of the sport.
United and City have naturally been mentioned as potential destinations, and Rooney reckons Messi would flourish at either with the players he would have around him, while discouraging a move to MLS for the moment.
“The United States shouldn’t be in his mind because he’s too good,” Rooney told talkSPORT.
“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.”
Despite playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi's eternal sporting rival, Rooney believes that the Argentine is the greatest player of all time, and one of a few that make him stand in "awe".
“I know he’s getting older but he’s a player who no one has seen before,” England's record goalscorer said.
“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.”
Rooney himself recently featured in the MLS for DC United before making the move back to England with Derby County in a player/coaching role.