Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi has urged Serie A clubs Inter and Milan to return to the Champions League while also addressing the problem of the Italian league’s decreasing quality. 

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was given yet another award on Friday night as he received the European Golden Shoe for the fourth time and equalled arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo. 

After the ceremony, Messi spoke to Gazzetta dello Sport and commented on the current Italian situation, the Serie A and the national team’s missed qualification to the World Cup. 

He said: “The Serie A has not been the same in the past few years, but I don’t say this just because Italy won’t go the World Cup. 

“Think about the cases of gigantic clubs like Milan and Inter, who haven’t qualified for the Champions League in a long time: they certainly aren’t the same as ten years ago. The two Milan outfits must return to being competitive at a European level,” he continued. 

“But on a positive note, Italian teams are slowly reacquiring those levels and Inter and Milan are going back to playing at high levels since they aim to play in Europe.”

Messi also spoke about the tough competition that Barcelona are facing in the Champions League: “Manchester City currently are the strongest side of the competition, with Paris-St-Germain just as good.

“But I don’t want to forget there are also Real Madrid, who are very experienced in the field, and Bayern Munich, who will fight until the end”.

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