Suarez: I won't tell Messi to join Atletico after Barcelona exit
The club's interim board and numerous presidential candidates have suggested that a projected loss of revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic means the six-time Ballon d'Or winner would need to agree a pay adjustment to stay beyond this campaign.
It was believed one of the motivating factors behind Messi's desire to leave before the start of the season wasthe treatment of close friend Suarez, who assisted more Barca goals for him (47) than any other player, following Ronald Koeman's appointment.
Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements and shipped off to Atletico for a nominal fee, but he does not intend to go out of his way to make Messi follow him.
"I'll always say it: Leo is mature enough to make the decisions he needs to make by himself. I'll never try to influence what he does; wherever he's happy, I'll always support his right to make the decision that's best for him," Suarez told AS.
"If at any point the possibility arises, then he should say so as obviously I'm going to talk very highly of him to the club.
"But as far as suggesting things to him is concerned, I think he's the one who has to make such decisions and wherever he's happiest is the best place for him to be."
Messi is yet to score from open play in nine appearances in all competitions this season and Koeman this week defended the Argentina internationalafter footage of him failing to close down a player in the final moments of Barca's 2-1 Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev went viral on social media.
Asked if Messi looked low on morale, Suarez said: "He's 33 years old and he knows how to deal with any situation.
"To me he looks like he has the same desire that he did before, is enjoying his football and is still fighting as hard as ever, which is the main thing. He keeps on trying even if the ball doesn't want to go in. That says a lot about him."
Messi's haul of 31 goals in all competitions last season – 15 of which were scored after Quique Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde as head coach in January – was his worst tally since registering 16 in 2007-08.
Setien, who was sacked after the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August, this week said Messi was "difficult to manage", but Suarez painted a different picture.
"I'd rather not get into that, because it only helps to turn it into a bigger issue than it should be," said Suarez.
"Any team-mate who has worked alongside Leo will talk highly of him, of what a class player he is and what a top guy he is away from the pitch. He really helps the youngsters, giving them pieces of advice.
Source : goal.com
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