Lionel Messi needed a professional on his side and not his father as he attempted to leave Barcelona, according to former Argentina team-mate Hernan Crespo.

After initially telling Barca he wished to leave after a trophyless campaign in 2019-20, and amid frustration with the Camp Nou board, Messi performed a U-turn and elected to stay with the embattled LaLiga giants.

Messi's contract expires next year, with Barca having been desperate to keep hold of their superstar captain as they look to overhaul the squad under new head coach Ronald Koeman, who replaced Quique Setien last month.

But Crespo believes the crisis could have been avoided, telling TyC Sports: "Here again, with this whole situation, the issue is that... with all due to respect to Jorge Messi, it seems to me that in these circumstances you need a professional by your side.

"It's not the same thing to talk an agent, that is, someone professional, as your father... the agent is not going to take into account the family issue and so on.

"You need to be a professional in these cases."

Last season's runners-up Barca kick off their league campaign against Villarreal on September 26, with friendlies against Gimnastic Tarragona and Girona taking place in the meantime.

Barca endured a miserable 2019-20 season, dethroned by bitter LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, while they were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi scored 25 LaLiga goals and 31 across all competitions for Barca last term.

Hernan Crespo labelled Lautaro Martinez a "complete player" and wants the forward to snub Barcelona and stay at Inter.

Martinez, 22, is heavily linked with a move to the LaLiga giants after an impressive season at Inter, scoring 16 goals in 31 games in 2019-20.

Former Inter and Argentina forward Crespo believes Martinez should stay at San Siro and establish himself further before moving on.

"I would like him to stay at Inter because this has been his first year as a starter," he told David de las Heras on YouTube, via Sport.

"I wish he had a bit more solid foundation before another change comes. Trains slow down at the best stations and Lautaro is one of them."

Crespo, now head coach of Defensa y Justicia, won three Serie A titles with Inter, where the former Chelsea forward spent four seasons.

The 44-year-old likes what he has seen from Martinez, who also has nine international goals in 17 appearances for Argentina.

"He is a very serious and focused boy. I really like that. He has a lot of personality," Crespo said.

"He is a complete player who can play in attack both alone and accompanying another striker."

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