Lionel Messi has accused Barcelona of disrespecting the legacy of Luis Suarez in an emotional tribute to his departed teammate.
Tasked with shaking up a bloated and underperforming squad, new Barça manager Ronald Koeman informed Suarez earlier this summer that the striker did not feature in his plans for the coming season.
Suarez, who is Barcelona’s third-highest scorer of all time and had just one year left to run on his contract at Camp Nou, has now sealed a move to league rivals Atletico Madrid, following an emotional goodbye press conference.
Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo have also left Camp Nou this transfer window, as the Barcelona hierarchy seek to reduce an unsustainable wage bill. However, it is the nature of the departure of his strike partner Suarez that has riled Messi.
With a message posted on his Instagram, Messi issued a heartfelt goodbye to his close friend, coupled with an obvious dig at his employers.
He wrote: “I was already getting the idea but today I entered the locker room and the penny dropped. It’s going to be so difficult not sharing every day with you, both on the pitch and off it. You will be missed. There were many years, friends, lunches, dinners. Every day together will never be forgotten.
“It will be strange to see you wearing another shirt and even stranger to play against you. You deserved to be celebrated as what you are: one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually. Not for them to kick you out like they’ve done. But the truth is that nothing surprises me anymore.
“I wish you all the best in this new challenge. I love you very much. See you soon, friend.”
Messi’s comments are the latest barbed remarks directed at his employers following a very public saga this summer. The six-time Ballon d’Or holder eventually backed down on plans to force an exit from Barça. However, it is clear that he remains deeply unhappy at the leadership of the club.
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