Football

Lionel Messi: I’m tired of being a scapegoat for Barcelona's problems

A frustrated Lionel Messi said he is tired of being blamed for problems at Barcelona, after he was accused by Antoine Griezmann's former agent as well as his uncle of making life difficult for the French striker at the La Liga club.

Agent Eric Olhats had accused Messi of having too much control at the club, saying his "reign of terror" had made it difficult for Griezmann to adapt since his arrival last year. The World Cup winner's uncle Emmanuel Lopes, meanwhile, said the Argentinian "doesn't work hard enough".

Messi returned to Barcelona after international duty with Argentina on Wednesday, when he was accosted by reporters at the airport.

He told Spanish media: "The truth is that I'm a little tired of always being the problem for everything at the club. On top of that, after a 15-hour flight, I had the tax authorities waiting for me. It's madness."

With a year left on his contract, the 33-year-old tried to activate a disputed clause to leave Barca for free in the off-season, but eventually decided to stay as he did not want to face a legal battle with the club.

Former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom Messi feuded with, resigned last month ahead of a vote of no confidence.

Messi has also had his run-ins with the Spanish tax authorities in recent years. - REUTERS

Football