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Barca director fired for anti-Messi jibe

Barca director fired for anti-Messi jibe
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Barcelona removed Pere Gratacos as their institutional sporting relations director after he claimed that Lionel Messi \"would not be as good\" without his teammates.

Madrid: Barcelona removed Pere Gratacos as their institutional sporting relations director after he claimed that Lionel Messi "would not be as good" without his teammates. The club acted swiftly after Gratacos had made his comments about the man regarded widely as the world's best player following Friday's King's Cup draw in Madrid.

"Leo is one of the most important people in the team, but it's not just about him," Gratacos told reporters. "He would not be as good without (Andres) Iniesta, Neymar and company, but Messi is the best."

Barca issued a statement hours later confirming Gratacos had been released from his duties after "he had expressed a personal opinion publicly not in line with that of the club." A club statement said: "The decision has been taken by Barcelona's director of sports Albert Soler, who will assume the role from now on.

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