Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves has opened up on his efforts to convince Lionel Messi to commit to a new contract with the club.
Chatter surrounding the future of 6-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has of course gone somewhat quiet of late.
For much of the season, it appeared as though a Camp Nou exit was imminent for the Argentine, on the back of a failed attempt to bring an end to his long-time Barca stint last summer.
In turn, it was widely assumed that Messi would simply bide his time, before making his exit official at the end of the campaign, following the expiration of his contract.
Recent months, however, have seen something of a shift in both the performances and, crucially, attitude of the world’s greatest player.
Messi has looked back to his imperious best, leading Barcelona to both a Copa del Rey triumph, and the heart of the La Liga title picture.
Significantly, this comes on the back of a long-awaited change at the helm in Catalunya, after Josep Maria Bartomeu was replaced by the returning Joan Laporta.
Such developments, in turn, have led to increasing hope that Messi could yet be convinced that the twilight years of his career lie at the Camp Nou.
‘When you leave Barcelona…’
And, as outlined above, one individual pushing hard to convince the Argentine that committing his future to Barca would indeed prove to be the right call, is Dani Alves.
Ex-Brazilian international Alves of course struck up a wonderful partnership with Messi during the pair’s shared time in Catalunya, with the stopper still firmly of the opinion that there isn’t ‘any place better’.
In turn, Alves has made contact with his long-time friend to remind Messi of all that he has at the Camp Nou, albeit with the Blaugrana talisman yet to respond:
‘I have said to Messi several times: he was born to be a Barcelona player and Barcelona were born to be his club’, the Brazilian explained during an interview with the Guardian. ‘He has given me advice before so I can do the same to him. Once he told me to stay in Barcelona because there wasn’t any place that was better. ‘Where will you be happier?’ he asked me. So I stayed.’
‘Now I have reminded him of that conversation and that a good friend (him) advised me that Barcelona is the best place ever. I haven’t had an answer from him yet but when you leave Barcelona you realise how good it is. All the players, and I mean everyone, who has left Barcelona have been sorry. All of them regret leaving, irrespective of the reason.’
‘When I left the club, I just wanted to show my value to get back. But, unfortunately, the same people who were against me when I was at the club stayed there. I showed that I was able to play for Barcelona for another 10 years. I tried to go back to Barcelona. I wanted to go back to Barcelona. I played to go back to Barcelona, but they didn’t want me anymore.’