Ivan Rakitic has given Lionel Messi his advice as the Argentine star ponders whether to press ahead with plans to quit Barcelona.
Messi is considering his next move after talks between his dad Jorge and Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu reportedly ended in a stalemate on Wednesday.
According to reports from Argentina, the six-times Ballon d’Or winner is considering a dramatic U-turn after last week telling Barca he wanted to leave.
And he has been given some words of wisdom to ponder by Rakitic – who has left the Nou Camp, returning to his former club Sevilla on a four-year deal.
Rakitic’s move is expected to be the first of several big-name exits this summer as new Barca boss Ronald Koeman implements a major overhaul of the underachieving squad he has inherited.
And he has told his pal Messi that the Catalan Club remains “the best option for all players”.
“The first option and the best option for all players is always Barca,” the 32-year-old said. “Then, each player has to make their decision.
“For me, the first option would always be to be at Barca.
“Every player has to do his own analysis and I believed it was my moment [to leave]. What Messi and other players are going to do, I don’t know – you’d have to ask them.”
Barcelona ended last season without winning a trophy, having suffered a decline in fortunes since Rakitic joined for the 2014/15 season, when they won the treble under Luis Enrique.
Their relative lack of success recently is believed to have contributed to Messi’s desire to quit the club.
Rakitic, who switched to Europa League winners Sevilla after dropping down the Barcelona pecking order, insists it is not the end of an era at the Nou Camp.
“I’ve not said anything about the end of a cycle, only that I always analyse everything and the situation has arrived to start thinking in another way,” he said.
“It’s not the end of an era. After six years, it wasn’t easy for me to leave. I’m really grateful for every detail.
“I don’t like to talk about the end of an era. I believe every player has to think about when the moment comes for them to leave, and that moment has come for me, nothing more.”