Villarreal sensation Luciano Vietto says it would be a dream to play alongside Barcelona legend Lionel Messi just weeks after his agent, Jorge Cyterszpiler, claimed the 21-year-old forward could sign for Liverpool or Real Madrid in the summer.
Vietto has become one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe after proving to be a sensation in his debut season in La Liga, scoring 20 goals – 12 in La Liga and eight in the Europa League.
While Vietto's agent confirmed the interest of both Liverpool and Real Madrid earlier in March, Villarreal president Fernando Roig increased speculation of a move in the summer after revealing his release clause is €20m (£14.5m, $22.2m).
"We know that a lot of big clubs are watching Luciano Vietto. There is a lot of competition for him. He could sign for Liverpool, we know that he is admired by the Reds, as well as Real Madrid and two Bundesliga clubs. I think he could leave Villarreal in the summer," Cyterszpiler recently said.
Then reports claimed Barcelona had also joined the race to secure his services and the Catalans had begun negotiations to outbid other suitors for his services.
And while Catalan press have continued speculation, claiming Barcelona manager Luis Enrique wants either Vietto or Paulo Dybala to back-up his impressive current trio – formed by Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez – Vietto has now added fuel to the rumours during an interview with Ole.
Asked whether the claims about Barcelona, Real Madrid and Arsenal are true, he said: "Honestly, it's something that I take it very quietly. I try to think only in Villarreal, in the training week and in proving my worth game by game. All these rumours just motivate me to keep working and improving. I have no doubt that doing the right things everything will arrive at the right time."
But when asked about playing with Messi, he admitted: "Everyone dreams to play alongside Messi. It would be a dream, of course.
"He is a great guy and [during the game between Villarreal and Barcelona] had a great gesture by giving me his shirt. It is a memory that I will have for the rest of my life.
Vietto claims he will focus on continuing to "grow" at Villarreal and finish the season in the best possible way but when asked about his long-term plans, he admitted he was tempted to play for a big European club.
He said: "Winning a Championship with Argentina would me my top dream. Then, also having the chance that big European club felt attracted by me is another great goal. But I know that I should train me well and take care of my diet. I know that if I do all that, then every dream will be achieve, God willing."