A frustrated Lionel Messi has said he is tired of being blamed for problems at Barcelona after he was accused by Antoine Griezmann’s former agent of making life difficult for the French striker at the club.
Eric Olhats had accused Messi of having too much control at Barcelona, saying his “reign of terror” had made it hard for Griezmann to adapt since his arrival last year.
Messi returned to Barcelona from international duty with Argentina on Wednesday when he was accosted by reporters at the airport.
“The truth is that I’m a little tired of always being the problem for everything at the club,” Messi told them. “On top of that, after a 15-hour flight, I had the tax authorities waiting for me. It’s madness.”
With one year left on his contract, Messi tried to activate a disputed clause to leave Barcelona for free but eventually decided to stay as he did not want to face a legal battle with the club.
Barcelona have been in turmoil since Bayern Munich humiliated them 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals last season. Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned as president last month.
Messi has also had run-ins with the Spanish tax authorities in recent years.
He was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2016 and ordered to pay a fine of €2m after being found guilty of defrauding the Spanish government of €4.2m over income earned from image rights.
However, he did not serve any jail time after exchanging his sentence for a €250,000 fine, as in Spain defendants without a previous conviction are permitted to serve any sentence of under two years on probation.
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