Barcelona forward Luis Suarez addressed Lionel Messi’s future at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi would see out his career at Barcelona if the LaLiga champions build a competitive team, according to team-mate Luis Suarez.
Messi’s future has been in the headlines following a public row with Barca sporting director Eric Abidal, while the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was reportedly unhappy with the club’s failure to re-sign Neymar at the start of the season.
Amid a tumultuous campaign for Barca – who sacked head coach Ernesto Valverde in January and have been at the centre of social media controversy after allegations the Spanish giants hired a company to damage the image of people associated with the cub, including Messi – Suarez said the Catalans must support the superstar captain.
“[The fears are] understandable because it’s what he’s said as well, that we’re not going to get what we want with what we have now,” Suarez told RAC1. “It depends on how the club recruits.
“Messi is very happy here. He’s so happy here, it’s his home. If the club does what has to be done, building a competitive team, then it’s going to be great for him and he’ll stay here for his whole life.
“He’s said that himself. I think the club understood his message.
“It’s normal for them to want the best player in the world, in the history of the club, to continue at this level here at Barcelona. I hope he stays.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 29, 2020
Barca have been heavily linked to Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who is reportedly seen as the ideal long-term replacement for veteran forward Suarez.
Messi previously hailed Argentina team-mate Martinez and Suarez – sidelined due to injury along with Ousmane Dembele – took aim at Barca for ignoring his calls for attacking reinforcements.
“Lautaro has a lot of quality because of the level he’s now showing with Argentina and Inter,” he said. “It’s his second season in Italy and he’s been on great form.
“But you have to understand that we, the players, don’t make the decisions. We don’t make the decisions.
“If it’d been down to the players, we would’ve brought in forwards a long time ago. I’ve been saying for two years that it would be good to bring in a forward, a young forward so that they can learn for when I leave the club, but they didn’t listen to me.”