Lionel Messi has come to the defence of Javier Mascherano following his move to Barcelona from Liverpool.
The Barcelona star has backed his new team-mate for seeking a move to Camp Nou for the sake of his family.
Reds boss Roy Hodgson reluctantly agreed a £20million deal with the Primera Liga champions for the midfielder after Mascherano reportedly refused to play at Anfield.
But Messi claims his Argentina international colleague had to move to save his family from an unhappy time in England.
Messi is quoted by the Daily Star Sunday: "Javier has a clear conscience but I wonder if the Liverpool coach has.
"We were in constant contact during his final nightmare year at Liverpool.
"His family were deeply unhappy in England. They struggled with the culture, had no friends and he told me he used to come home from training to find his wife crying.
"A man has to put his family first and Javier had to put his wife and his two daughters before football.
"Hodgson was fully aware that Javier needed to leave the country because of his family and told Javier that if the right offer came in he would be allowed to move.
"Barcelona matched Liverpool's valuation and Javier got the move his family desperately needed."
Messi added: "Now the coach is saying that Javier held Liverpool to ransom when it's not true.
"They both agreed he could go for the right price. Javier will reveal the truth of the conversations in detail one day but for now he is just happy he is at the greatest club in the world where he can finally win things - and more importantly where his family can be happy.
"With all the South American players at Barcelona, he is like a new person.
"I have been speaking with him and he wants the fans to know that they were great and Liverpool Football Club will always be in his heart."