Barcelona forward Luis Suarez and Atletico Madrid ace Antoine Griezmann have a problem in common. However, Lionel Messi is reportedly backing the former when it comes to who he wants to play alongside.
Both players have been prolific in recent seasons, but they’re having their troubles this year as neither has been able to find their goalscoring touch.
Suarez has just three goals in 14 appearances in all competitions, while Griezmann has three in 13, and so they’ve both uncharacteristically been struggling to find the back of the net.
That has led to speculation over their respective futures with the Frenchman linked with a move to the Nou Camp, but as reported by Don Balon and re-reported by The Express, Messi doesn’t want Griezmann coming in to replace Suarez.
It’s added that the Atleti superstar would cost €100m, as per his release clause in his contract with the club, but Messi is said to be standing by Suarez and wants him to continue to be a prominent figure for Barcelona.
Part of that could be down to the fact that Suarez ultimately is a close friend off the pitch, as evidenced with their previous social media activity which shows that they enjoy each other’s company away from football, while the Uruguayan attended Messi’s wedding in Argentina this past summer, as noted by The Mirror.
Further, while he may not be scoring regularly so far this season, Suarez is playing a key role in helping Messi flourish, and that’s seen him score 16 goals in 17 games and help lead Barca to the top of the La Liga table and their Champions League group.
As a result, there seems to be a strong case in favour of why Messi would want to keep Suarez as the focal point of the Barcelona attack, but again, the question has to be raised over whether or not the Argentine wizard really does hold that much power at the Catalan giants to dictate transfer plans to the hierarchy.