Barcelona ‘should consider selling Messi’

2013-06-25 13:56

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Madrid – Johan Cruyff raised eyebrows by saying that Spanish champions Barcelona – for whom he was captain, then coach – should consider selling idol Lionel Messi now that they have signed Brazilian starlet Neymar.

In an interview with Marca, Cruyff said today: “Now that Barça have signed Neymar, they should really consider selling Messi,” in order to “avoid a conflict of egos” between the two South American forwards.

“I am all in favour of avoiding conflicts,” said Cruyff. “That’s why I wouldn’t have signed Neymar in the first place. But now that has been signed, the club should consider selling Messi.”

The Dutchman justified his controversial point by adding: “Neymar and Messi are both free-kick specialists. Who is going to take them from now on? Besides, Neymar and Barça have a deal with Nike while Messi is with Adidas. These are situations that could cause problems.

“I would not have taken the risk of bringing in Neymar.”

When asked why Messi reportedly had problems playing alongside Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cruyff said: “It seems that Messi is a bit of a dictator. When you have the possibility of being the best player in every game, you have to be a bit of a dictator because your prestige is on the line.

“The pressure on Messi is enormous because the fans want to see him doing marvellous things, and in order for this to happen things have to function perfectly.”

Regarding the charges of tax evasion brought against Messi by the public prosecutor’s office, Cruyff commented: “They have picked on Messi so that other people are afraid of them.”

Cruyff (66) played for Barca from 1973 to 1978, then coached the Catalans from 1988 to 1996. In 2010 he was controversially appointed President of Honour by club president Joan Laporta, only for Sandro Rosell to eliminate the post months later when he took over as president.

Since then, Cruyff has been extremely critical of Rosell. He said that the decision not to extend the contract of defender Eric Abidal – who underwent a liver transplant last year – was “a bad move” in terms of “human values”.

He also questioned why coach Pep Guardiola left the club a year ago, and why goalkeeper Victor Valdes is keen to leave now.

“The question has to be asked as to why Valdes wants to leave. The same thing happened with Guardiola. Things are happening that we don’t know about. It is strange and surprising that he (Valdes) wants to go.”

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