Diego Simeone made phone call to Luis Suarez over Lionel Messi’s Barcelona exit

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has revealed how he pleaded with Luis Suarez to speak to Lionel Messi after the news broke that he may be leaving Barcelona.

After 21 years with the Catalan giants, Messi was forced to leave his boyhood club on a free transfer.

His contract was expiring but it was assumed that he would sign an extension and continue to lead the line at the Nou Camp.

However, it was revealed that Barca’s financial situation meant that they could not afford to keep Messi, even if he took a pay cut, and thus had to say goodbye to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Several clubs were believed to have tried to contact Messi about signing him, but he quickly joined Paris Saint-Germain on a bumper contract.

Atletico Madrid were one of the teams who had an interest in the 34-year-old and made the player aware via his former teammate Suarez, who played with Messi for six years at Barca.

Speaking to Olé, via AS, Simeone said: “I tell you a detail, now with what happened in Barcelona we call Luis (Suárez). With all due respect, I did not call Leo, but I did call Luis to ask him how Messi was doing, if he was looking forward to it or if there was a slight possibility that he would come to Atletico.

Would Lionel Messi have signed for Atletico Madrid if PSG were not interested in him? Have your say in the comments below.

“Something that lasted three hours, because PSG was already obsessed with that incorporation. If it was left in something? No, not at all, you see the plane passing through the sky and you say there it comes, well like that (laughs)."

Messi’s move to PSG was very quickfire, with the negotiations taking a matter of days rather than weeks.

His arrival meant that Les Parisiens soon became favourites to win the Champions League, with a front line of Neymar, Messi and Kylian Mbappe being tipped as the best in the world by many.

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Simeone continued: “There were no situations to direct him. He was always at Barcelona, I was in Spain at Atletico and in the national team we did not coincide as players.

“But to me, he conveys that to me. If you ask me where Messi has to play, I tell you in a team that wants to win. In a team that knows what it has to do to win. It doesn't matter what you play for, it matters that the team is prepared to win. Don't think about him, think about the team."

Messi is yet to score a Ligue 1 goal for PSG in three appearances but scored a stunning solo goal against Manchester City, who tried to sign him previously, in the Champions League a few weeks ago.

  • Lionel Messi
  • Atletico Madrid FC
  • Barcelona FC
  • Transfer news
  • PSG FC

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