Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves hopes Lionel Messi will remain at the club beyond next summer.
Messi threatened to walk out of Barcelona over the summer, but decided to stay with the Blaugurana as he decided not to face a legal battle with the club.
The Argentine superstar is into the final year of his contract and can leave for free next June.
“Messi is as great as the badge of Barcelona. But as he could see that everything around him was a disaster, it’s understandable that he wanted to leave,” Alves told Catalan radio station Rac1 on Friday.
Brazilian right back Alves, who spent years as Messi’s provider-in-chief at Barca and won three Champions League titles alongside him, also said he urged the forward to stay at the club.
“I told him not to leave Barca,” added Alves, 37, who left the club in 2016 to join Juventus and now plays for Brazilian side Sao Paulo.
“When the club was trying to get rid of me I told him so and he said to me ‘Don’t go, where could you go that is better than here?’. I told him the same thing (this summer). He didn’t reply but I know that he got the message.”
Barca have made a slow start to the La Liga season and have failed to win their last four outings, including losing 3-1 to Real Madrid last month.
“Barcelona has changed its philosophy so its normal that it’s having problems right now,” Alves added.
“It has lost its identity and now it has to go through a tough process to get it back.”
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