Lionel Messi waited more than a month to make his home debut for Paris Saint-Germain and certainly didn’t expect it to end with his substitution as his team desperately hunted for a winner against Lyon.
Messi looked utterly stunned as he was sent off for Achraf Hakimi in the 76th minute and tried not to hide his anger as he stared at the floor as he stepped away, Mauricio Pochettino gave a deadly look as he went to the bench and then snubbed the offer of a handshake from the coach.
Pochettino’s decision was justified when Mauro Icardi’s stoppage time winner took a 2-1 win, but Messi’s stunned reaction to the substitution was the main conclusion of the game and the main talking point.
Lionel Messi looked stunned after being removed by Mauricio Pochettino against Lyon
Messi couldn’t hide his disappointment after being substituted in the 76th minute
Messi is not used to being substituted but he has now been knocked out by Pochettino as often as in any of his last three seasons at Barcelona, having not been eliminated in any league game in the 2017-18 season.
Pochettino justified the post-match decision by saying he didn’t want to risk Messi getting injured, but he made a bold move by taking the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in a clear indication that the needs of the game team should be more important than needs. of star players.
Messi has a long history of defying coaches, even those as imposing as Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, and Pochettino will need a solid backbone to take the player away again without consulting him.
Sports post looks at the other times coaches have made decisions Messi disagreed with. Each time, the Argentinian won the battle with his manager.
LUIS ENRIQUE HIRING AFTER NOT STARTING AT SOCIEDAD
Messi’s most famous break with a coach was with Luis Enrique after he sat on the bench for a LaLiga game at Real Sociedad in January 2015.
What initially seemed like a logical coaching decision led to a near mutiny by Messi that threatened Luis Enrique’s job, led to the president calling an election and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta being fired.
Messi had only recently returned from a Christmas break in Argentina and Enrique decided to start without him or Neymar in the first game back to a Sociedad side coached by David Moyes.
Messi caused a huge storm at Barcelona after failing to start against Real Sociedad in 2015
Messi has reportedly called for coach Luis Enrique to be fired for leaving him out of the team
Sociedad took an early lead with an own goal from Jordi Alba and Luis Enrique grabbed Messi and Neymar after halftime but Moyes’ side clung to a famous win that dented Bara’s title chances but most importantly caused an earthquake in Catalonia.
Messi was absent from a rare open practice the following day, even missing the team’s annual visit to children’s hospitals.
Barça tried to blame his absence on a stomach flu, but their apology didn’t fool anyone, especially because of an ill-timed interview Xavi Hernandez gave days earlier in which he revealed that “gastroenteritis in the football world sounds like an excuse, when something there is something else going on’.
Messi shook hands with David Moyes after losing to Sociedad, but was furious with his coach
Barça won the treble, but Luis Enrique admitted there was ‘tension’ between him and Messi
Enrique, a club legend, was booed by fans in the next game against Elche and Spanish media reported that Messi had urged President Josep Maria Bartomeu to sack the coach and threatened to leave if he didn’t.
It took Xavi’s intervention to heal the rift between Messi and Luis Enrique and things started to pile up as Barca defeated champions Atlético Madrid 3-1 the following week and went on to win a stunning treble starring the Argentinian along with Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Enrique later admitted there was “a period of tension” with Messi, but said he can say “only good things” about the Argentine these days.
But the usually stubborn coach had learned the hard way that even he couldn’t try to impose his authority on the little genius.
REFUSE TO TRAIN AFTER SUBBED BY GUARDIOLA
Luis Enrique is not the only authority against which Messi has rebelled.
Pep Guardiola replaced the Argentine for Pedro in a 4-0 win over Valencia in his first season as leader of the club, a seemingly innocent decision as his side had already scored four goals and had nine minutes to go.
But Messi did not see it that way and declared his intention to miss training the next day, according to Catalan radio station RAC1.
Barca’s players convinced him to finally leave his house after a series of phone calls, but once at the training facility he refused to put on his equipment.
Messi was so angry after being substituted by Pep Guardiola that he refused to train the next day
Guardiola and Messi had a strong relationship, but the player was not afraid to speak his mind
Barca said publicly that Messi had not trained because he suffered an injury, although they fined the player privately.
However, Messi had made his point and was only substituted into the league again that season.
SMS GUARDIOLA ABOUT IBRAHIMOVIC
Besides being substituted at the end of a game, Messi felt a much bigger problem the following season: the form of new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Barca had broken the bank to take over Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan, spending €46m and sending Samuel Eto’o the other way.
Though he later complained that Barca looked too much like a school with rigid rules, Ibrahimovic got off to a flying start at the Nou Camp, scoring 11 LaLiga goals in his first four months, including the winning goal in El Clasico against Real Madrid.
But Messi saw the Swede as a threat and let Guardiola know – by text.
When he was only 22, Messi was remarkably shy and unable to express his thoughts to his coach, so he texted him while sitting just a few rows behind him on the team’s bus.
“I see I’m no longer important to the team, so…” Messi wrote, according to a 2012 book titled “The Messi Mystery.”
Messi did not react well to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who usurped him as central striker of Barcelona
Messi texted Guardiola to complain about Ibrahimovic playing his favorite role
Messi was particularly angry about Ibrahimovic’s pivotal role in the team and the fact that he was forced to play on the right wing after playing so well as a ‘false nine’ in the final stages of last season.
The Argentine quickly regained a central role and Ibrahimovic shuffled to the right, where he was less effective and less mobile.
The Swede played little in the final stages of the season and soon left the club for AC Milan, while Messi stayed on to become Barca’s all-time top scorer and best player.
Even a proven star and volcanic personality like Ibrahimovic couldn’t stand in his way and the Swede has never forgiven Guardiola.
“Pep would rather make Messi happy – he didn’t appreciate me,” he wrote in his autobiography.
EXCLUDE ON SETIEN ABOUT HIS TEAM SELECTION
Messi had a good relationship with Ernesto Valverde and it wasn’t long before he expressed his dismay at the coach’s sacking.
Unsurprisingly, then, he didn’t get off to the best start with Valverde’s successor Quique Setien and, less than a month into his appointment, questioned the new coach’s decisions.
Simon Kuper, author of the book ‘Barça: The Inside Story of the World’s Greatest Football Club’, has revealed that Messi was furious with Setien choosing Junior Firpo as a left-back in a match at Real Betis instead of his old team-mate and closest personal. friend Jordi Alba.
Quique Setien (left) rarely saw Messi face to face, saying he was ‘hard to manage’
Setien said of Messi: ‘He is very reserved, but he shows you what he wants’
According to Kuper, Setien asked Messi at halftime what he thought of the team’s performance, as they had to come twice from behind to make it 2-2 at halftime.
“What do you think I’m thinking?” snapped Messi
“This is not a youth team!” shouted Messi. “Play your best players.”
Setien soon did as he was told and brought Alba to Firpo before Barca won the match 3-2.
Setien later told former Spain coach Vicente del Bosque in El Pais newspaper how difficult it was to be in charge of Messi.
“He’s very reserved, but he’ll show you what he wants. He doesn’t talk much. But he’s watching,” he said.
“Who am I to change him if they’ve accepted him here for years and never asked him to adapt?”