Former Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez has revealed what will make Lionel Messi remain a Barcelona player beyond this season.
Messi nearly left Barcelona in the summer, telling the club he wanted to activate a release clause in his contract, before changing his mind in order to avoid a potential legal fight against the club.
The 33-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the current season and Suarez says he believes that Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona if the club brings in a new board, which would include replacing current president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
According to Suarez, Messi believes Bartomeu has failed to build a winning team.
Suarez was shipped out of Barcelona last month when he joined Atletico Madrid.
“Out of respect for the relationship I have with Leo, I’m not going to say what we talked about at the time, but he lived through a difficult and complicated situation,” Suarez told ESPN.
“He wanted to leave and the club did not want him to. I tried to support him, take care of him and distract him a little.”
Suarez believes that part of the reason Barca wanted to see him leave was because he had grown too close to Messi.
“I think they wanted to get me away from Messi’s side, perhaps it bothered them that I have a good relationship with Leo,” he said. “Maybe they wanted him not to be with me so much.”
“That Messi wanted to leave Barcelona was not a gesture towards me. They should have respected his decision to leave,” Suarez added.
“There may be the possibility that Messi plays for another club, but if he feels comfortable, happy again and another board arrives, he will want to continue at the club,” Suarez said.
“As a friend, I’ll be happy if he does well there and if he has to go to another club, I’ll be happy too.”