The Croatian midfielder did not tire of insisting that Messi is the most important part of Barcelona’s team, but he refused to comment on his tean-mate’s contractual situation with the club.

“He is still a part of the club. I can’t know for sure whether Messi will leave or stay,” Rakitic said.

“I just want to see the photo of him signing the contract. What I want is to be able to play alongside Messi for as long as possible. He has our support.

“I have heard and I have read that it’s all going well I believe in him and the president, but we’ll have to wait to see the decision,” the 29-year-old added.

Rakitic also insisted that constant talk of Messi’s contract renewal is not doing the club any good.

“You have to leave him alone, not make him fed up. He is unique, the best in the team. We are here to look after him, give him support so he can keep doing what he does in every match, which is incredible.”

Finally, and although he did not want to stick his neck out, the former Sevilla man spoke positively about the possibility of Messi staying at the Camp Nou.

“For him it’s the same as always. We haven’t spoken with him about this because we trust that he will make the best decision. He knows that he has the backing of the board, the fans and the dressing room.

“He knows it very well. He knows he is a vital part of the club. He has to be here and I trust that he always will be,” Rakitic added.

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