Newell's Old Boys fans make Messi pitch by taking to streets of Rosario

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Fans of Argentine club Newell's Old Boys made their case to sign Lionel Messi on Thursday by taking to the streets of the 33-year-old's native Rosario as speculation over where the Barcelona star will play next season dominates sports headlines worldwide.

A parade of Newell's fans, mainly in cars due to the coronavirus pandemic, made their way from Estadio Marcelo Bielsa to the Monumento a la Bandera near the center of Rosario waving red-and-black flags, with many carrying the slogan "your dream, our desire."

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The initiative to bring the former Newell's youth team player back was started on social media with the Argentine's future up in the air following reports that Messi has put in a transfer request with Barcelona, although Manchester City has already spoken to him and the prospect of a return to Rosario remains remote.

Messi is a Newell's fan and has stated on multiple occasions that his childhood dream was to play in "Estadio Marcelo Bielsa." Newell's even released a video in May 2018 compiling past interviews of Messi talking about the club.

Club legend and current striker Ignacio Scocco admitted Thursday in a video conference that while the dream of bringing Messi back is alive, making it happen now could be difficult.

"I think you have to be coherent and consistent because for me [Messi's return] is very difficult, distant and complicated, leaving aside the desire and dream that we have as fans that he comes and puts on the Newell's jersey," said Scocco.

The Messi family already knows the club's desire to have him, according to Newell's general secretary Juan Jose Concina.

"No one knows more clearly than he does that Newell's wants him to come here and that is not dependent on a phone call," said Concina in quotes carried by Reuters. "We have to be cool about it."

Newell's sporting director Sebastian Peratta told ESPN FC back in 2018 that "what makes us dream and generates excitement [about Messi's return] is that it's not something we are saying. It is him saying it."