LIONEL MESSI is following in the footsteps of best pal Luis Suarez – by building a bar 100 yards away from the Uruguayan’s restaurant.
The Barcelona talisman may be missing his old strike partner, sold to Atletico Madrid last summer, on the pitch but will soon have even greater ties to him off it.
In 2017, Suarez opened ‘Chalito’, a trendy restaurant on the beachfront of Castelldefels, a short hop down the coast from Barcelona city centre.
Just 100 yards away, Messi is setting up shop on the same road.
SunSport pictures show a construction site behind a steel fence that will eventually become the home of the Argentine’s bar.
Messi, 33, has called Castelldefels home since 2009 and was joined by neighbour Suarez, 34, when he moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014.
The pair regularly holiday together and often shared the school run when their kids attended the same school.
Last summer, former Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas joined Messi and Suarez, along with their partners Daniella Semaan, Antonella Roccuzzo, Sofia Babi for a luxurious yacht holiday on the Mediterranean.
The £40,000-a-week vessel hosted the trio’s families as they cruised around the Balearic Islands before touching down on Formentera.
At the same time both Messi and Suarez looked set for moves away from the Camp Nou, as their futures appeared to become intrinsically linked.
Visits to each other’s houses fuelled speculation over their decision but only the former Ajax man left.
Since moving to Atletico, Suarez has guided his new side to the summit of the league while his 16-goal tally means he shares the top of LaLiga’s scoring charts with his old pal.
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Messi hit out at Barcelona bosses for allowing his strike partner to leave.
When Suarez’s exit was confirmed, he wrote online: “It will be strange to see you with another shirt and much more to face you.
“You deserved the goodbye for what you are: one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually.
“And not to get kicked out like they did. But the truth is that at this point nothing surprises me. I wish you all the best in this new challenge. I love you very much.”
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