LONDON – News emerged that the club had sacked director of football Andoni Zubizarreta, assistant Carles Puyol quickly resigned from his role in a boardroom bloodbath that could have been perpetrated by Lord Sugar.
A ban on signing players until January 2016 imposed by FIFA and reported friction in the changing room between coach Luis Enrique and some of the players has led to speculation that Argentina star Messi is considering leaving.
The main headline from Barcelona-based sports newspaper Sport reads: “Breakup. Luis Enrique and Messi don’t even speak to each other.”
Spanish sports newspaper Marca claims Barca have not ruled making a coaching change, with the team rumoured to be unhappy with Enrique’s tactical and coaching methods.
Photographs of Messi and Enrique in Marca’s front page are followed by the headline: “In search of a pacifier.”
According to Marca, Barca captains Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta had to intervene to stop Enrique from reprimanding Messi after the South American failed to report to training on Monday.
Messi, who joined Barca’s youth team when he was 13, and Brazilian striker Neymar were left on the bench in Sunday’s 1-0 La Liga defeat at Real Sociedad but both came on as second-half substitutes.
Messi trained on Wednesday morning with the rest of his team-mates ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey match against Elche.
Catalan sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo’s front page headline read “Key day”, with a photo of Messi training with Enrique watching him in the background.
El Mundo Deportivo also added: “(Barcelona president Josep Maria) Bartomeu acts to appease relations between Luis Enrique and Messi that damage Barcelona.”
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