Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Lionel Messi 'tired of always being the problem for everything' at Barcelona

Club captain accused by Antoine Griezmann's former agent of leading a 'reign of terror' at Camp Nou

Lionel Messi has said he is "tired of always being the problem for everything" at Barcelona after the Argentine superstar was accused Antoine Griezmann's former agent of making life difficult for the French striker at the club.

Eric Olhats has claimed Messi has too much control at Barcelona, saying his "reign of terror" had made it challenging for Griezmann to adapt since his arrival from Atletico Madrid last year.

Messi, 33, returned to Barcelona from international duty with Argentina on Wednesday when he was accosted by reporters at the airport.

"The truth is that I'm a little tired of always being the problem for everything at the club," Messi was quoted as saying by Spanish media.

"On top of that, after a 15-hour flight, I had the tax authorities waiting for me. It's madness."

With one year left on his contract, Messi tried to activate a disputed clause to leave Barcelona for free in the off-season, but eventually decided to stay as he did not want to face a legal battle with the club.

Barcelona have been in turmoil since Bayern Munich humiliated the Spanish side 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals last season. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned last month ahead of a vote of no confidence.

Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have been Barcelona teammates since the start of the 2019/20 season. Reuters
Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have been Barcelona teammates since the start of the 2019/20 season. Reuters

Messi has also had his run-ins with the Spanish tax authorities in recent years.

He was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2016 and ordered to pay a fine of €2 million ($2.37m) for defrauding the Spanish government of €4.2m over income earned from image rights.

However, Messi did not serve any jail time after exchanging his sentence for a €250,000 fine, as Spain defendants without a previous conviction are permitted to serve any sentence of under two years on probation.

Updated: November 19, 2020 11:29 AM

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