Former Barcelona star Dani Alves admits he’s as concerned for the club’s direction as his former teammate Lionel Messi, but begged the Argentine ace to stay put and remain at the club.
Speaking to Catalan radio station Rac1 on Friday, former Brazilian international Alves said that the club should have afforded more respect to Messi, who was so dismayed with the way the club was being run that he demanded to be allowed to leave the club in the summer.
Messi eventually opted to stay after learning that the departure clause in his contract had expired, but he can still leave the club at the end of the current season, in June, if he opts not to sign a new deal.
But Alves said that he hopes his former teammate looks at the overall landscape of the game and stays at Barcelona, suggesting that the Camp Nou club is the best place for Messi to be.
“Messi is as great as the badge of Barcelona,” said Alves.
“But as he could see that everything around him was a disaster, it’s understandable that he wanted to leave.
“He has done so much that he deserves to have the stadium named after him.”
Alves won three UEFA Champions League titles with Messi at Barcelona, said that Messi once told him not to leave the club, and explained that he’s returning the favor now by giving his former teammate the same advice now.
“I told him not to leave Barca,” added Alves.
“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.”
Barcelona have made a less-than-impressive start to the season, and Alves said that, as well as hanging on to Messi, there is much work to do in order to rebuild the club’s stature as one of the continent’s top teams.
“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.”