Lionel Messi has launched another scathing attack on Barcelona’s board, accusing them of disrespecting Luis Suarez and effectively expelling him from the club.
Suarez, 33, had said he wanted to stay at Barca this season, even if it meant taking on a replacement role, but eventually agreed to leave after being informed by new coach Ronald Koeman that he was not in of his plans.
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Barca announced on Wednesday that they have reached a deal to move him to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid, removing Messi’s best friend from the dressing room in the process and further isolating their star player.
“It will be weird to see you in another jersey and even weirder to play against you,” Messi wrote on Instagram on Friday, a day after saying his farewell to Suarez at an event at Camp Nou.
“You deserved to go for who you are: one of the most important players in club history, winning things as a group and individually. It’s not for them to kick you out the way they did. But the truth is, nothing surprises me more. ”
Messi’s comments are further proof of the breakdown in the relationship between the striker and president Josep Maria Bartomeu, which led him to try to leave the club in August.
Messi decided to stay and said he did not want to sue the club he loved over a clause in his contract that his legal team believed he could leave for free.
However, several of Messi’s closest allies at the club have left, including Suarez and Arturo Vidal.
“How hard it will be not to share every day with you, both on and off the pitch,” Messi added on Instagram.
“We will miss you so much. So many years, so many friends [a South American caffeine-based drink], dinners… So many things that will never be forgotten, every day together. I wish you good luck in this new challenge. ”
Neymar, who played alongside Messi and Suarez at Barcelona for three seasons and won the treble with them in 2014-15, commented on the post: “It’s amazing how they do things. ”
Messi first shared his grievances with club executives when he took to Instagram in February to call former sporting director Eric Abidal, who blamed the players for the dismissal of former coach Ernesto Valverde .
During the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Messi and his teammates complained about leaks at the club as they negotiated a pay cut to help Barca cope with the effects of the pandemic.
Finally, after failing to organize a summer departure, Messi slammed Bartomeu and the board in an interview with Goal earlier this month when he announced he would stay at Camp Nou at least until 2021, when his existing contract expired.
The Argentina international accused Bartomeu of lying to him and said it had been years since the club had a good project, saying they were “juggling and filling the holes as they went”.