Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates were stunned in the Champions League Quarter-finals by La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid, but the reigning Ballon d’Or winner does not appear too bitter about the loss. After taking some time to reflect, the football megastar picked Atletico Madrid to win the Champions League title over Real Madrid.
In an interview with ESPN per NBC Sports, Messi explained that Barcelona fans would never allow the team to root for Real Madrid – even if it was against the team that knocked them out of the competition. As a result, Messi is now pulling for Atletico and even had some compliments for the club’s manager Diego Simeone.
“It is clear that the people at Barcelona do not want Real Madrid to win anything,” Messi said.
“It would hugely please Barcelona if Atletico beat them in the Champions League final.
“What Atletico Madrid have done is great, it is not easy to beat them. They are a very tough opponent and Simeone deserves credit for their performances.”
Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez led Barcelona to the Champions League title last season in a win over Juventus after claiming the La Liga title by a two-point margin over arch-rival Real Madrid.
Atletico Madrid were knocked out of the La Liga title race, so Messi and Barcelona may end up getting a rather lucrative consolation prize if they can beat lowly Granada.
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