Lionel Messi has been offered advice on his Barcelona future by close friend and former team-mate Luis Suarez as well as ex-coach Pep Guardiola.
The captain is out of contract at the end of the season and it remains to be seen if he will continue his career at the Camp Nou or walk away as a free agent.
Suarez, who left Barca for Atletico Madrid last summer, told TV3 that he believes Messi should stay at Barcelona until he finally decides his hang up his boots.
“I can not imagine Messi outside of Barça. As a fan of the club and his friend, I want to ask him not to leave,” he said. “The best thing for Messi is to end his career at Barcelona, for another 3, 4, 5 or 6 years at Barça, the place where he was happiest.”
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Messi ‘Won’t Find a Better Home’ Than Barcelona
Guardiola has also urged Messi not to leave the Camp Nou. He told TV3, “I hope he can finish his career at Barça. Messi will not find a better home than at Barça.”
Messi has been regularly linked with a move to Guardiola’s Manchester City team who may be better placed to help the Argentine add to his collection of Champions League titles than Barcelona.
The Citizens are favorites to make it to this season’s final after winning 2-1 at Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their semi-final tie. Barca’s involvement in the tournament ended at the last-16 stage with defeat to PSG.
Yet Guardiola also added that he does not think it would take much to turn Barca into a very special team once again.
“The only thing that needs to be done, as our dear teacher said, is to go back to the origins, to rescue the cause of things, which makes Barça special in many things in the way they play,” he said. “We know how to do it. The founding thing is already done. All you have to do is dust it off, put some oil on it, the nails … and do it again. There is no better club to do it.”
Messi To Agree New Two-Year Deal?
Speculation over Messi’s future continues with the latest rumors suggesting Barcelona is preparing a two-year deal for the captain. Xavi Torres at Catalunya Radio has reported a first meeting between Messi’s father and president Joan Laporta ended with “good feelings.”
Torres adds that Messi is willing to take a 50% pay cut from next season which would help the club’s financial problems and also potentially enable Laporta to try and bring in a top name such as Erling Haaland.
Messi could then head off to MLS to play for David Beckham’s Inter Miami team before returning to Barcelona once his playing days are over and taking up a role in the “club’s sports structure.”
Negotiations are expected to continue with a decision to be made after the end of the season. Barca has just six games left to play and could still end the campaign with a league and cup double.