Former Barcelona star Dani Alves believes Lionel Messi should stay put with the Catalan giants beyond the current campaign. The Argentine has been with the Blaugrana throughout his career, but he had looked for a way out during the summer. However, the hierarchy declined to release him for the final year of his contract and that meant that Messi had to remain with the club.
Messi has yet to show any intention of signing a fresh deal and reports have claimed that he may head for the exit door when his contract expires in June next year. Speaking to RAC1, Alves said that the six-time Ballon d’Or is as huge as the club’s badge and is hopeful that the 33-year-old stays put at the Camp Nou.
He told: "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. I told him not to leave Barca. 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."
Messi has contributed four goals and four assists from just nine appearances this term, but the Blaugrana have not necessarily had a good start of the season. They have won each of their three group stage games in the Champions League, but their form in La Liga has been far from impressive. They have accumulated only eight points from six games and they are already nine points adrift of league leaders Real Sociedad with two games in hand.
They can close the deficit with the extra matches to play, but the likes of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are much higher up the table, having played lesser games as well. Los Blancos are currently on 16 points after seven matches. Atleti, meanwhile, have accumulated 14 points from six games to date.