By Jonathan Spencer For Mailonline
Published: 00:10 BST, 3 September 2020 | Updated: 00:36 BST, 3 September 2020
Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos has defended Barcelona rival Lionel Messi by claiming he has 'earned the respect' to decide his next career move.
Messi stunned Barcelona recently after informing the club, via fax, that he wanted to leave this summer after growing increasingly disillusioned both on and off the pitch at the Nou Camp.
There is plenty of chaos surrounding Messi's potential departure - with Barcelona insisting they won't sell him for below his staggering £630million release clause while Messi's camp are adamant he can leave on a free transfer.
Lionel Messi sent shockwaves throughout football after telling Barcelona he wanted to leave
However Ramos, who has enjoyed many spectacular battles in El Clasico against the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, has admitted Messi should be able to go out on his own terms but has questioned the way he has gone about things.
'I think [Messi] has earned the respect to decide his future,' Ramos said in a news conference ahead of Spain's UEFA Nations League game against Germany on Thursday.
'I don't know if he's doing it in the best way.
'But of course, for Spanish football, for Barcelona and for us, we always like to win being the best. We would like him to stay here.'