Former Barcelona star Dani Alves has revealed he played a role in convincing Lionel Messi to stay at the club after he had submitted a transfer request.
Following Barca's humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, already fed up with the board and believing he could leave in the summer, Messi announced his intention to leave the Nou Camp.
Barcelona made clear Messi would not be allowed to depart and the Argentine eventually backed down from his stance.
And Alves, who left Barcelona four years ago after his own contractual dispute with the club, says he warned Messi against exiting.
Alves told Catalan radio station RAC1: "Once he [Messi] told me, when they wanted to kick me out and I could leave: 'Where will you be better than at Barca?'
"And when this summer's story came out I told him the same thing. If you answered me? No.
"But the difference is that they wanted to kick me out, not him."
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Meanwhile, former Manchester City striker Emile Mpenza believes the club should look to improve their defence before trying to persuade Messi to join them next year.
"I think that with all the defensive problems [Pep] Guardiola has, he doesn’t really need someone like Messi," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"He should sort the leaky defence out first. [Vincent] Kompany has left a huge hole at the heart of the defence and City are yet to find the stability they had when Kompany was running the backline.
"It’s a tall order to fill Vincent’s shoes and what’s the point of signing Messi with all the issues they have at the back?
"They have enough players in his position like [Riyad] Mahrez and [Sergio] Aguero. If they sign Messi that would be too many players for the same position and cause problems.
"I believe that he will link up with Pep Guardiola again at some point in his career, but not at City itself but rather for their partner club New York City FC.
"Guardiola has managed in three of the best European leagues such as La Liga, the Premier League and Bundesliga with only Serie A missing. For me MLS is his next stop and he will take Messi with him there."
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