Former Barcelona winger Emmanuel Amuneke has warned his former club against trading Lionel Messi.
The 33-year-old has one year left on his current deal, with speculations over his future at the Spanish giants after their Champions League 8-2 humiliation by new champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
A mass exodus at the club has been widely reported in the Spanish dailies following the arrival of new manager Ronald Koeman, but Amuneke believes the six-time Ballon D’Or winner will still be needed at that club.
Koeman replaced Quique Setien, who was sacked after the defeat.
“I don’t know if it will be right to sell Lionel Messi,” 1996 Africa Footballer of The Year Amuneke told The PUNCH.
“He still has a year left on his current deal. Of course the situation at the club is not comfortable for anyone.
“Messi must decide his future but he will be needed at the club.”
Amuneke also backed Koeman to revive the dwindling fortunes of the club, who also lost La Liga to fierce rivals Real Madrid. “Barcelona are facing a hard time right now and so someone has to take responsibility for the club to get back on track.
“An institution like Barcelona requires a lot from a coach, but we hope Koeman can turn things around for the club and the fans. He’s a very experienced coach, who also played for this great club.”
“As a player, he was part of the successes; he and Johan Cryuff inspired a generation in the 80s and 90s with their total football. He was also assistant coach at the club when I played there.”