Barcelona have sacked La Masia institutional relations chief Pere Gratacós after the executive claimed that Leo Messi wouldn’t be as good as a player if it were not for his teammates.
Gratacós, who acts as the club’s liaison with the Spanish Football Federation and who coached Messi in the junior ranks at La Masia, was asked about the Argentina star at Friday’s Copa del Rey draw, where he was Barcelona’s representative. “He wouldn’t be so good without Iniesta, Neymar and Piqué,” Gratacós replied.
His comments did not go down well at Camp Nou and sporting director Albert Soler moved quickly to remove the executive from his post. “He has publicly aired an opinion that the club doesn’t share,” read a pithy communiqué released on Friday afternoon.
Messi contract talks
Barcelona’s board felt that the timing of Gratacós’ remarks would not aid ongoing contract negotiations with the club’s all-time leading scorer, whose current deal expires in June 2018, and sacked him to avoid any potential redress from the player.
Gratacós represented Barcelona B as a player and coached the youth sides between 2003 and 2005, coinciding with Messi at La Masia.
However, Gratacós will remain at the club in his role on the Masía 360 project.