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Updated February 13th, 2024 at 09:39 IST

‘Him and I were not big friends’- Barca icon discloses issue with Messi prompting Pep's intervention

Barcelona legend admits to not being close with Lionel Messi, leading to Guardiola intervention due to their strained relationship.

Aryan Suraj Chadha
Pep Guardiola & Lionel Messi embracing each other
Pep Guardiola & Lionel Messi embracing each other | Image:AP
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Lionel Messi is widely regarded as an all-time great, especially during his time at Barcelona, where he engaged in a fierce rivalry with Real Madrid and their star, Cristiano Ronaldo. While many revered Messi as a legendary figure in Barcelona, there were instances when he and his teammates were at odds and not in sync.

 Rafael Marquez opens up on his ugly relationship with Lionel Messi 

Rafael Marquez, a renowned figure in Barcelona's history, has spoken up about his hard relationship with club hero Lionel Messi. The former Mexican center-back, who now manages Barcelona's youth squad, admitted that he had disagreements with Messi during their time at the club. Pep Guardiola, the manager at the time, intervened in the dispute.

According to sources from The Sun, cited by Yordi Tosada, Marquez described an instance in which he disagreed with Messi's style of play during training sessions. Marquez was frustrated by what he saw as Messi's 'exaggerated' dribbling, which eventually led to tensions between the two players. Rafael Marquez on the Argentine legend: 

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“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.”

Rafael Marquez and Lionel Messi forged a strong combination at Barcelona from 2004–05 until 2009–10, which helped the team achieve incredible success. Together, they won four La Liga championships, including the esteemed continental treble during the season that will never be forgotten in 2008–09.

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The 44-year-old Marquez set off on a career that saw him play for teams all over the world after leaving Camp Nou in 2010. Before officially retiring from professional football in 2018, he was a notable player for the New York Red Bulls, Leon, Hellas Verona, and Atlas.

By contrast, Lionel Messi stayed a key player at Barcelona until his unexpected free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2021. The renowned football player is now working for Inter Miami of the Major League Soccer (MLS). He joined the team in the summer of 2023 to continue his remarkable career. 

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 09:39 IST

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