“Messi and I were not big friends” – Barcelona legend opens up on ‘problem’ with Lionel Messi which led to Guardiola intervention

Barcelona legend Rafael Marquez has revealed that he was not on the best of terms with club icon Lionel Messi.

In fact, the Mexican centre-back – who’s now in charge of Barca’s youth team – had an issue with Messi, leading to intervention from manager Pep Guardiola. Detailing the incident, as per The Sun (via Yordi Tosada), Marquez said that he was incensed with the Argentina’s ‘exaggerated’ dribbling in training:

“We knew that Leo could dribble to three or four players, but sometimes exaggerated it a lot. We tried to direct it, saying to him: ‘Here you dribble, here you don’t’.

“By my strong insistence in these instructions, started a problem between Messi and I. We began to exchange words, and Guardiola had to intervene to solve the problem. Messi and I were not big friends. We were colleagues.”

Marquez and Messi played together for Barcelona between 2004-05 and 2009-10, winning four La Liga titles, including the continental treble in 2008-09.

The 44-year-old Marquez – who left the Camp Nou in 2010 – later played for New York Red Bulls, Leon, Hellas Verona and Atlas before retiring in 2018. Messi, meanwhile, stayed on till 2021 before leaving to PSG in 2021 on a free transfer.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner is now with MLS side Inter Miami, whom he joined last summer on a free transfer.

How did Lionel Messi fare under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona?

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Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi made his name as one of the game’s best-ever players under Pep Guardiola.

In 219 games across competitions between 2008 and 2012, the 36-year-old amassed a stunning 211 goals and 94 assists as Barcelona became the club to beat in Spain and abroad.

During this period, they won three straight La Liga titles and two in the UEFA Champions League. In his last season under the Spaniard, in 2011-12, Messi scored a stunning 74 goals across competitions.

It was a shame that Barca fell short in both La Liga and Champions League this season.

Edited by Bhargav

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