Barcelona — Lionel Messi has provoked a football frenzy by announcing he wants to leave Barcelona, the club he joined as a 13-year-old in 2000 and has led to four Champions League titles.
This has been a season of problems, on and off the field for Barcelona, but Tuesday’s declaration of divorce, though more extreme than anything in his past, is not the first sulk in Messi’s 20 years at Camp Nou.
2012: Patience wears thin
Despite a reputation as a discreet and approachable team-mate, the Argentine has repeatedly lost patience with other Barca players.
In September 2012, he gesticulated angrily at Spanish striker David Villa, forced to play on the wing, for failing to cross the ball quickly enough against Granada in La Liga. Messi’s gestures effectively confirmed rumours circulating for several months of tensions between the two, who were no longer speaking to each other.
Once, in training, Messi reportedly told striker Cristian Tello: “You’re new here and you’re nothing at all. Pass me the ball. You’re here to play for me.”
Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez, who arrived in 2011 at a cost of 37 million euros ($53 million at the time), is said to have attracted Messi’s wrath.
“Considering how bad you are, I’ve no idea how you cost so much,” Messi once told Sanchez.–AFP