The Brazilian has become an instant hit for the Premier League side after signing from Watford in an eyewatering £40million deal over the summer.
He’s quickly silenced the doubters with three goals in his first three league games and the world is beginning to take notice of his talent after a delightful double for Brazil on debut during the international break.
Unsurprisingly while away with the national team, he was asked for his thoughts for one day signing for either Los Blancos or their Spanish rivals Barca.
“That way you leave me in a complicated situation,” he said laughing (h/t AS).
“They are two giants, the dream of any player. But I just got to Everton, I’m very happy.
“And in the end the next step will depend a lot on what you do here. So I hope to do a lot of good things in Everton, to win something relevant and to give back the confidence of the club and the fans.”
Reports last week suggested that both clubs were exploring the opportunity with the Spanish league, but it has been met by backlash from some quarters – with Spanish football federation (RFEF) chief Luis Rubiales calling the plans ‘an invasion’ of football in the United States.
Players have also expressed their concern about the proposals, though AFE, the body that represents footballers in Spain, insisted on Monday that the players would be the ones to make a final decision over any such match.
The issue will come to a head now after a statement revealed that officials from Barcelona, Girona and La Liga had signed a joint request for the landmark game to go ahead.
“FC Barcelona, Girona FC and La Liga have requested permission from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to stage the matchday 21 fixture between Girona and Barcelona, scheduled to be played on January 26, at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in a 20:45 CET kick-off,” the statement read.
“The request, signed by FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu, Girona FC President Delfí Geli and LaLiga President Javier Tebas, was submitted to the RFEF late Monday. The submission has been made after successfully completing the first key steps with several stakeholders.
“One of the elements of the request is the compensation offered to Girona season-ticket holders, who have this fixture included in their season ticket.
“Aficiones Unidas (AFEPE), an association of fan clubs, has welcomed this compensation package. The clubs and LaLiga, recently named Honorary Ambassador of Brand Spain, also explained that they will work hand in hand with the main Spanish government institutions, as well as other federations and sports entities, to promote Spanish football and its values as a vehicle for developing the Brand Spain in North America.
“The proposed La Liga match in Miami is part of La Liga North America, a wide-ranging and long-term joint venture announced in August between La Liga and Relevent, a multinational media, sports and entertainment group. La Liga North America is targeted at promoting football in the United States and Canada.”
Spain head coach Luis Enrique has claimed Lionel Messi is one step ahead of notable players like Croatia’s Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
Modric, 33, won the Golden Ball at World Cup 2018 and was recently named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year – an award Messi didn’t even make the final shortlist for.
This has led to inevitable questions about the relative merits of these superstars.
See Enrique’s answer below.