Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves says Lionel Messi is still the world’s best despite a below-par performance as Barcelona were thrashed 4-0 at Liverpool to crash out of the Champions League.

Real Madrid have been urged to sign one of Lionel Messi’s children by Alvaro Arbeloa after the Barcelona superstar revealed his son Mateo cheers for their La Liga rivals.

Messi claimed another La Liga title this season but Champions League and Copa del Rey defeats to Liverpool and Valencia respectively have seen the five-time Ballon d’Or winner ruthlessly trolled by his own son.

“Thiago never misses a match,” Lionel Messi told TyC Sports. “Mateo loves football, he wears all the shirts.

“We were playing at home and he said to me, ‘I’m Liverpool, who beat you’; ‘Valencia won, eh – I’m Valencia’.

“The TV is there, and he cheers Madrid’s goals to annoy his brother. He’s the one who is a Madrid fan.”

Messi’s comments caught the attention of former Madrid full-back Arbeloa, who won La Liga and two Champions League trophies during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Let’s get him [Mateo] signed,” ex-Spain international and World Cup winner Arbeloa tweeted on Wednesday.

Messi – preparing for the Copa America with Argentina – scored a La Liga-high 36 goals in 2018-19 as he claimed his sixth European Golden Shoe.

The 31-year-old finished the season with 51 goals in all competitions as Barca reached the Champions League semi-finals and Copa del Rey decider.

Messi scored twice in the first leg of the Champions League last four in a 3-0 drubbing of their Premier League opposition – including a sublime free-kick – but he and Barcelona were stunned at Anfield and beaten 4-0 by the eventual winners – the biggest comeback ever at that stage of the competition – with Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum each grabbing a brace.

The Liga champions were shocked again in the final of the Copa del Rey as Messi’s second-half strike proved to be a mere consolation after Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo put Barcelona 2-0 down at half-time, ending their four-year streak of winning the competition.

The Blaugrana are set for a summer overhaul, with a deal for Ajax star Frenkie de Jong already wrapped up and a deal for his team-mate Matthijs de Ligt looking likely to follow as Ernesto Valverde hopes to improve on an ultimately disappointing year.

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