Following Luis Suarez’ tearful farewell event organised by Barcelona on Thursday, Lionel Messi has taken to Instagram to say goodbye to his former strike partner and close friend.
But Messi’s emotive message is most noteworthy for its critical references to the club’s actions, over which the Barcelona captain has become increasingly disillusioned during the past few months – a situation which culminated with his shock transfer request in August. If anything can be read into the Messi’s message, aside from his deep respect and love for his exiting team mate, it is the fact that his ill-feelings towards Barcelona’s hierarchy have not subsided over the past few weeks since the club blocked his move to Manchester City on the basis of his €700 million buyout clause. In the open letter, the Argentine forward was critical of the manner in which the club allowed Suárez – the third highest scorer in Barcelona’s history – to leave adding that nothing surprises him at Camp Nou at this point. “I was already getting the used to the idea but today I entered the dressing room and that’s when it really hit me,” wrote Messi. “How difficult it’s going to be not to continue sharing the day to day with you, as much on the field as off it. We’re going to miss you all so much. We’ve had a lot years together, many friends, lunches, dinners… Many things that will never be forgotten, every day together. “It will be strange to see you in another shirt and much stranger to face you. You deserved a goodbye for what you are: one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually. You did not deserve to be thrown out as they have done to you. But the truth is that at this point nothing surprises me. “I wish you all the best in this new challenge. I love you very much, I love you all very much. See you soon friend.” Messi and Suárez shared a dressing room for six seasons, during which time they won 13 trophies together and formed a tight bond both on and off the pitch. And the fact that Barcelona has broken this bond in this manner has clearly not sat well with the club captain. Messi has promised to give his all this season after president Josep Bartomeu blocked his exit this summer. But judging from the comments in this message, it seems even more certain that the disillusioned Argentine superstar will not be at the club next season after his contract runs out in June 2021 – at which point Barça will be powerless to stop him leaving.