clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Barcelona Fire Club Official For “Criticizing” Lionel Messi, But Messi Wasn’t Bothered At All

Gratacós said Messi would not be as good without great teammates, adding that did not take away that he was “the best player.”

FC Barcelona v UD Las Palmas - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Pere Gratacós was removed from his position as Barcelona’s head of sporting relations to the Spanish federation, though he remains in the club with other jobs relating to youth development. Why? Because he made a statement that became controversial, and the club didn't want any of that as they handle Lionel Messi's renewal.

The comments, taken out of context and translated, got a lot of attention in the media and on social media. But were they that bad?

Asked whether Barcelona’s win over Atheltic Club Bilbao was down to only Lionel Messi, this was his answer: "It was not only Leo. Leo is one of the most important people in the team, but if the team won the tie it was also because of the whole team. Leo without Neymar, without Luis Suárez, without Andres Iniesta, without Gerard Piqué, without the rest, wouldn't be as good, but it's clear that Messi is the best player."

Gratacós's phrasing was not very good, and he invited controversy because of it. But seen in context, they seem like level-headed, fair, if not simply obvious things to say.

Now there's a story in Mundo Deportivo that Messi's entourage found the sacking confusing. Apparently Messi himself understood Gratacós, who gave him his debut at Barcelona B and maintains a good relationship with the player.

You could argue that Gratacós should have been more careful at this delicate time. But it's also true that his words were twisted and people began grabbing their pitchforks before all the facts were in.

It's hard not to see the sacking as a PR move if the story is true that Messi himself saw no issue with the statment.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes