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A former Barcelona assistant manager, Henk Ten Cate, has said Lionel Messi is still at the club because of a vow he made to late manager Tito Vilanova.

Ten Cate, who was Frank Rijkaard‘s assistant during his time at Camp Nou, thinks a transfer would be in the best interest of everybody concerned.

“As far as I know, these problems all started about two years ago. Messi is only still at Barcelona because he promised it to Tito Vilanova at his deathbed,” Ten Cate told De Telegraaf.

“But I think a transfer would be in everybody’s best interest. Lionel has been at Barcelona for quite a while and he needs a new challenge. He’s still worth a lot of money now, but his value will only go down from here on.

“I really want to be supportive, because he has been on another level for 10 years. But I’m not sure he will get back to his best.

“It isn’t normal to shine for 10 years like he has done. Most of the big names can only keep it up for seven or eight years. And to be honest, he wasn’t at his best either last season, even if his statistics were still great.”

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