Barcelona director fired for suggesting Lionel Messi wouldn't be as good without teammates

 
Joe Hall
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Much ado about Messi (Source: Getty)

A Barcelona director has been sacked by the club after claiming Lionel Messi relied on his teammates to get to the top of the game.

Pere Gratacos is a key figure in the club's famed La Masia academy but has been fired from his role as director of training and education after questioning their star player's ability.

Messi's contract expires at the end of next season and reports suggest Barcelona will need to put together a world-record offer to keep the 29-year-old at Camp Nou.

Read more: Messi denies knowledge of tax issues that could land him in jail

Yet their hopes of pinning down the Argentinean may not have been helped by Gratacos telling the Spanish media "it's not just about him" earlier today.

"He's very important but it was the team who won [against Athletic Bilbao in the previous round]," he said.

"Without Neymar, Luis Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique and the others, he wouldn't be such a good player."

Just hours later, he was sacked.

In a statement the club said he had been removed from his post "for having publicly expressed a personal opinion that does not match that of the club after the draw for the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey held today in Madrid.

"The decision has been taken by Albert Soler, director of professional sports, who will assume these functions directly from now on."

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