Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez and have both sent emotional farewell messages to Barcelona icon Lionel Messi.
Messi’s association with Barca came to a shock end on Thursday when the club announced the 34-year-old was leaving on a free transfer.
Barca president Joan Laporta held a press conference on Friday to explain the situation.
Laporta revealed Messi was even offered a two-year deal and even a five-year contract in a bid to stay within LaLiga’s spending limits.
Basically the club’s dire financial situation meant they were unable to agree a deal for whom many consider the world’s best player.
Fans gathered at the Camp Nou on Friday and former Atletico Madrid star Griezmann was reportedly met with abuse.
The France star is a high earner at the Camp Nou and Marca reported that he was met with a number of fans upon his arrival at the Joan Gamper Sports City complex. Those fans then “shouted abuse” at Griezmann’s car, blaming him for Messi leaving.
There was reportedly a rift between Messi and Griezmann when the latter arrived in Catalonia in July 2019.
The Argentinian had made no secret of his desire to play alongside Griezmann at the Nou Camp. It was the initial snub in the summer of 2018 that irked the club legend.
“I spoke with Leo when I arrived and he told me that when I rejected the first chance to go I screwed him because he had asked for it publicly,” said Griezmann. “But he told me he was with me, and I notice that every day.”
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And there does not appear to be any lingering ill feeling after Griezmann paid a glowing tribute to the club’s all-time record goalscorer.
He wrote on Instagram: “The only thing I can tell you and that every soccer lover will think about it: THANK YOU! Thank you for everything you have done at Barcelona! For the city, for the club … you have changed everything!
“I am sure that it is not a goodbye but a see you later and that your path will cross again with FC Barcelona.
“I wish you the best, that you and your family are happy wherever you go. Very few know what it is to be Messi and you were an example for me in every way.”
Suarez, who himself left Barcelona last summer to join Atletico Madrid, also hailed his former team-mate.
Suarez wrote on Instagram: “I know there are plenty of words to tell the story you wrote at Barcelona. The club that saw you grow, the club that you love so much and so many titles you achieved until you became the best payer ever.
“I will always be grateful for how you received me since I arrived because of what a great human being you are. Proud to have shared thousands of wonderful moments at Barcelona and to be lucky to have played with you.
“I sincerely hope that what happens in the future is the best for you and your family. I love you so much.”