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Messi was misunderstood over retirement plans – Suarez

The Barcelona striker has backed his superstar teammate to continue playing for a long time

Lionel Messi's apparent hint at retirement was "misunderstood", according to Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.

Messi, 32, said "the moment of withdrawal is approaching" after winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, leading to retirement talk.

However, Suarez believes the Argentina star's comments were misunderstood, backing the forward to play for years to come.

"[Messi] amazes me because he is a one-off and is making history," Suarez told beIN SPORTS.

"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.

"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."

Suarez has starred for Barca since arriving from Liverpool in 2014, but the 32-year-old has also been linked with a move away despite being contracted until 2021.

The Uruguay international said he would do what was best for the La Liga champions, who sit top of the table.

"If they bring in a new team-mate for me to compete with, that's the same pressure as having to play every three days," Suarez said.

"And I have to be thinking about the future of the club – as a fan of the club, I have to think about the future, and maybe the best thing is if they sign a young or an established player to carry the torch as Barcelona's number nine."

Suarez has scored 10 goals in all competitions so far this season and set up Messi for the winning goal in the club's recent 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid

The Catalans currently lead La Liga on goal difference with Real Madrid hot on their heels ahead of the season's first El Clasico to be played on December 18. 

Barcelona next face Mallorca in the league on Saturday before facing Inter in the Champions League next week. Ernesto Valverde's side have already sealed their spot in the knockout stages after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-1 last week. 

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