Barcelona sack chief over controversial Lionel Messi jibe

Barcelona have surprisingly sacked Pere Gratacos as head of Sports Institutional Relations with the Spanish Football Federation over controversial comments made on Friday morning (13 January) regarding Lionel Messi’s importance to the club. Gratacos, who coached Messi for two years at La Masia, appeared to relegate Messi’s role at Barcelona in the recent 3-1 victory over Athletico Bilbao. That was despite the Argentine international scoring a sensational free-kick to send his side to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals with a 4-3 aggregate win. “The decision has been made by Albert Soler, Director of Professional Sports, who will assume his functions directly from now on,” said Barca chief executive Oscar Grau. “Pere Gratacós will continue to be linked to FC Barcelona with La Masía 360 project.”

Barcelona cannot overpass more than 70 % [of the budget] in wages. Our desire and what we want is for the best player in the history to stay.

Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau