Messi wants Fabregas in Barcelona

Published Jul. 14, 2010 9:31 p.m. ET

Lionel Messi said Wednesday he'd enjoy playing alongside Cesc Fabregas, the Spain and Arsenal midfielder who is being pursued by Messi's club, Barcelona.

Messi was in the Panama capital to play an exhibition match, which will feature the Argentina forward and a few of his international teammates against a side led by former Germany international Kevin Kuranyi. Messi arrived after spending a holiday on the beach in Brazil.

"It would be a pleasure to have him on the team," Messi told reporters. "He (Fabregas) grew up in the Barcelona youth system and we played together."

Barcelona officials said during the World Cup that plans to sign Fabregas were on "standby."

Messi said Argentina's 4-0 defeat to Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals was still with him, almost two weeks after the humiliating loss.

"It left me with a bad feeling," Messi said of the World Cup ouster. "I expected to go far. Now there is nothing we can do."

Messi was reluctant to be drawn on the national team's immediate future, saying it was up to Diego Maradona to decide if he wants to continue as coach.


Maradona has said little about his plans. Julio Grondona, the president of the Argentine Football Association, has acknowledged it's up to Maradona to decide if he wishes to coach the team for the 2011 Copa America. Argentina is the host nation.

Messi, who has lived in Spain for a decade, also paid tribute to the Spaniards for winning the World Cup.

"It could not have finished in a better way," he said.