Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez has come in the defence over the comments of fellow club team-mate, Lionel Messi, claiming that the Argentinian was "misunderstood" over his retirement statement.
Messi who recently won a record sixth Ballon d'Or award, had remarked that the "moment of withdrawal is approaching" following his victory, which led to rumours that the superstar was hinting of hanging up his boots in the near future.
Suarez though believes that Messi's comments were "misunderstood" and that he is sure that his friend will continue to play for years to come.
🎙 [BeIN Sports via MD] | Suárez: “Barça has to look for a young '9' for when I'm not here”— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) December 5, 2019
🔶 Luis Suarez discussed his and Lionel Messi's futures, Antoine Griezmann's integration at Barcelona, and Neymar's happiness pic.twitter.com/SbcFQxnsv6
"[Messi] amazes me because he is a one-off and is making history. As a friend and team-mate, [the Ballon d'Or] makes me happy and proud because it's a beautiful moment for him. [His comments] were misinterpreted. When someone wins a Ballon d'Or they are happy but also nervous," he said to beIN Sports, as quoted by Goal.
"Leo is a human being and gets nervous like the rest of us. He wanted to say he might have to contend with retiring in a couple of years. It was misunderstood, but I'm sure Leo Messi will continue for a long while yet."
With Messi 32 at the moment, it will be interesting to see for how long he decides to continue playing football.