‘Barcelona need to plan post-Messi & Suarez’ – Rivaldo calls for long-term vision at Camp Nou

Luis Suarez Lionel Messi Barcelona
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The Blaugrana legend believes now is the time for the Liga giants to start investing in players who can step into the boots of some iconic figures

Barcelona need to start planning for the future, says Rivaldo, with the Liga giants urged to bring in long-term successors to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at the earliest opportunity.

The Blaugrana find themselves approaching an important crossroads after being knocked from the loftiest of perches by arch-rivals Real Madrid.

A domestic crown has been surrendered to Clasico foes, with Messi among those to have aired concerns regarding the direction in which Barca are heading.

Rebuilding is required on and off the field, with a talismanic presence at Camp Nou said to have shelved contract talks as he waits on big decisions to be made.

The general consensus is that Messi will stay put and prolong his one-club association with Barca, but there will come a day when he either moves on or hangs up his boots.

The same is true when it comes to prolific frontman Suarez, as well as long-serving figures such as Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique.

Rivaldo believes future planning needs to start now, amid links to the likes of Neymar and Lautaro Martinez, with Barca in serious need of a refresh.

The legendary Brazilian told Betfair of his former club: “Luís Suarez is already 33 years old and his contract expires at the end of next season.

“He still has two or three seasons left playing at the highest level but it's always healthy for the club to think about who will eventually replace him and even sign a new player if possible. The same applies to Messi.

“Squad renewal is part of football and many other great players who played at Barcelona have left at some point - me, Romario, Ronaldinho or [Diego] Maradona are some examples - because one day your age starts sending a message.

“The players come and go and the club stays, so you always must think in new players even if you're satisfied with your current squad. It's normal at any club in the world.”

It appears doubtful that Quique Setien will be given the opportunity to oversee a rebuild at Barca, with Rivaldo among those hoping to see a familiar face drafted into the dugout at Camp Nou.

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He added: “Xavi seems to be the right manager to guide Barca through a period of change as he knows the club very well and will be able to work on developing the club's youngsters.

“He had the chance to embrace that task before Barca contacted Setien, but the Spaniard decided he wasn't ready to coach his beloved club. I believe he will change his mind soon and become Barcelona manager.

“I don't know if it's going to happen this summer or not but I believe it's in his own hands to decide it as Barca's board have already showed interest in him.”