Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao hopes Argentina superstar Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona in the future as Floyd Mayweather links remain.
The eight-weight world champion, who fights in a December exhibition, recently visited Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium.
Manny Pacquiao in Barcelona
During his visit, the “Pacman” spoke to Mundo Deportivo in a plea to Messie to one day come back from Paris St. Germain.
“If I have to be honest, in addition to boxing, my favorite sport is basketball,” admitted Pacquiao during the interview.
“Basketball is practiced a lot in the Philippines, but I always follow the [FC Barcelona] matches on TV. I try not to miss one.
“This is my first time here [in Barcelona]. I also went to the stadium. It was a really nice experience. It’s a very nice stadium as I spent time there in the company of president [Joan] Laporta.
“In addition to Barcelona, however, I also follow Argentina. I have great esteem for Lionel Messi. He is in Paris now, but I hope he will return to play for Barcelona,” added the Filipino great.
Soon after his trip to Spain, Pacquiao confirmed a ring return to face Combat YouTuber DK Yoo this winter. The welterweight star embarks on his first journey onto the exhibition circuit.
Rival Floyd Mayweather has been campaigning there since 2018 when he battered a Japanese kickboxer in the first round.
Mayweather returns to RIZIN again in September to face another Japanese Mixed Martial Artist.
Pacquiao initiated a move away from the professional ranks after losing to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021. And despite links to one last fight following his Presidential campaign failure, the 43-year-old resisted offers.
After Yoo, fights against retired fighters like Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, and Mayweather will open up again. Even Conor McGregor remains an option on the table for a long-rumored cross-codes collision.
Pacquiao had previously ruled out exhibitions by discussing his future before stepping away from the sport.
“If I’m fighting for the money, then I would have picked some scrub to fight,” Pacquiao stated to The Power & Play Show.
“Why would I try to fight an undefeated fighter if I’m chasing the paycheck? We know this is a real fight [against Errol Spence].
“I fight because this is my passion. I love beating undefeated fighters and bringing honor to my country. I’m not like some other guys who are in it just for the money.
“Some other fighters [like Floyd Mayweather] challenge non-boxers just to get paid. I want to fight. I want to challenge the best.”
Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather
Unfortunately, that Spence fight fell through due to injury. Ugas replaced the American to defeat Pacquiao in a sad ending to a great career.
Despite his unwillingness to participate, Manny Pacquiao knows it would be foolish to turn down good money for an exhibition.
Surely it won’t be long before the call comes from Mayweather to do it all again on Pay Per View away from the pro ranks.