Lionel Messi has launched another scathing attack against Barcelona’s board, accusing them of disrespecting Luis Suarez and effectively kicking him out of the club.
Suarez, 33, had said he wanted to stay at Barca this season, even if it meant taking on a backup role, but eventually agreed to leave after being told by new coach Ronald Koeman he was not part of his plans.
Barca announced on Wednesday they had agreed on a deal to transfer Suarez to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid, removing Messi’s best friend from the dressing room in the process and further isolating their star player.
“It will be strange to see you in another shirt and even stranger to play against you,” Messi wrote on Instagram on Friday, a day after he bid farewell to Suarez in an event at Camp Nou.
“You deserved to depart for who you are: one of the most important players in the club’s history, winning things as part of a group and individually. Not for them to kick you out as they have done. But the truth is nothing surprises me anymore.”
Messi’s comments are further evidence of the relationship breakdown between the forward and president Josep Maria Bartomeu, which led him to try to quit the club in August.
Messi decided to stay and said he did not want to take the club he loves to court over a clause in his contract his legal team believed meant he could leave for free.
However, several of Messi’s closest allies at the club have left, including Suarez and Arturo Vidal.
“How hard it’ll be not to share each day with you, both on and off the pitch,” Messi added on Instagram.
“We’re going to miss you so much. So many years, so many mates [a South American caffeine-based drink], dinners… So many things that will never be forgotten, every day together. I wish you all the best in this new challenge.”