Argentinian star Lionel Messi had earlier signalled his intention to leave Barcelona but the plan eventually fell through due to timing issues and legal disagreements with the club’s management.
Lionel Messi has repelled a recent attack from Emmanuel Lopes, the uncle of French footballer Antoine Griezmann, who claimed that training sessions at the Nou Camp were purposefully designed to make the Argentinian forward look good.
Commenting on Lopes’ remark upon his Wednesday arrival at Barcelona’s airport, Messi said: “The truth is that I’m tired of always being the problem of everything at the club.”
Griezmann, who made a €120 million move to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid last year, has been the recipient of sharp criticism from sport fans over his performance throughout the season following an expensive buy-out.
His former agent Eric Olhats, however, moved to defend the protégé last week, saying that it was “emperor and monarch” Messi who should be actually blamed for creating a strangled atmosphere in the club and implementing a “regime of terror”.
To add to the controversy, Griezmann’s uncle Lopes then accused Messi of effectively hindering his nephew’s development at training sessions.
“Griezmann was convinced that he wasn’t going to be successful within the first six months, but what I didn’t expect was that [his struggles] would last an entire year,” Lopes said last week.
“Basically, [Messi] doesn’t work hard enough at Barca and the training sessions are structured in order to please certain people, which is fine if you don’t want to work,” he said, adding that his nephew Griezmann “needs to work, even though others don’t need as much effort to play well.”
“He’s the other way around – he needs to put in a lot of effort for himself,” Lopes added.
Griezmann has never openly gossiped about his relationship with the 33-year-old captain but said recently that “with Messi everything will be better”.
The Argentinian was planning to leave Barcelona this summer after nearly 20 years on the team.
However, the potential move was halted by the club’s management, which argued that as the transfer window has already passed, the forward would have to pay €700 mln due to a release clause in full to be able to walk out of Barca freely. Messi thus decided to stay with his career-long club for another season, but rumours now suggest that Manchester City is willing to pay big bucks to buy out the six-time Ballon d’Or winner during the winter transfer window.