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Eric Abidal on Barcelona’s Leo Messi contract talks, Luis Suarez’s future exit & an Inter Milan target


Eric Abidal speaks to Mundo Deportivo

Barcelona’s director of football, Eric Abidal, has sat down with Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo this weekend.

During an extensive interview, Abidal discussed a range of topics including Leo Messi contract talks, Luis Suarez’s future exit from the Camp Nou, and an Inter Milan target.

Barcelona’s Leo Messi contract talks

Now 32, Leo Messi is under contract with FC Barcelona until 2021.

Rumours have been rife for months about Barcelona’s attempts at locking Messi down to a new deal.

On Messi’s future at the Camp Nou, Abidal said:

He [Messi] is a key player for us. And has the option of leaving at the end of his current deal.

But I know the president is talking to his representatives to ensure the contract is closed once and for all.

I hope he stays for many years, and I think that will be the case. It will be Leo’s decision. And as he says, Barcelona first and foremost. He is the best.

Thiago Silva blasts Leo Messi after Argentina beat Brazil

While on the topic of Leo Messi…

On Friday in Saudi Arabia, Argentina claimed a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Brazil in a friendly.

Messi scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.

However, Messi caused a mini storm when he made a ‘shut up’ gesture towards Brazil coach Tite.

PSG defender Thiago Silva has since criticised Messi for his behaviour against Brazil:

He wanted to rule over the game. He kicked two people and the referee did nothing. I argued with the ref and he kept laughing. You have to put admiration to one side.

He always looks to force the referee to give them free-kicks in dangerous areas, he always acts in that way. We spoke with some players who play in Spain and the same thing happens, he looks to control the game and the referee’s decisions.

In the Champions League he doesn’t have that advantage because the referees are tougher. You don’t see him trying to rule so much. There are referees that, because of their admiration for him, start to weigh in on his side. That we didn’t have Neymar on our side was a disadvantage.

It’s hard to understand when we talk about respect on the pitch, and one of the most admired players in the world does that, you don’t do that to an older person but being that it was a coach… as much as there is rivalry, respect has to come first.

Luis Suarez’s future exit from the Camp Nou

Luis Suarez is now 32-years-old.

Suarez has scored 6 times in 10 La Liga matches already this season, plus another 2 goals in 3 Champions League games.

However, the forward’s contract expires in 2021. He joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014.

Does Suarez have a long-term future at Barca?

According to Abidal, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Abidal told Mundo Deportivo:

I am transparent with the players, Luis can tell you that.

I already told him a year ago, that it was going to be like this – that we were going to look for an offensive player.

He accepted it because he wants the best for the team.

Today, I can tell you that there is no priority (target).

But Barcelona are interested in Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez

Yet, no sooner had Abidal said there’s “no priority”, the Frenchman was roped into an analysis of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.

It’s fair to say that Abidal is impressed with the 22-year-old Argentine:

He [Martinez] is a complete player. I think he’s playing at a very good level.

He is a player we are aware of and we know of his quality, but there are also other players with these same characteristics.

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