Lionel Messi dad and his “bad advice” are the reason behind the Argentine’s shock Barcelona transfer U-turn, according to Hugo Sanchez.
The former Real Madrid hero, 62, took a swipe at Jorge Messi, who has been handling negotiations with the Nou Camp side since his son informed them he wanted out.
Messi Jr, 33, was desperate to be let go after failings on the pitch and serious fallouts off it with the club hierarchy.
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But after Jorge was unable to reach an agreement in his showdown talks with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Messi withdrew the request and agreed to stay put for the final year of his contract.
Sanchez, though, reckons a better agent rather than his own dad would have seen Messi get his way.
The 208-goal Los Blancos hero told ESPN: “That untimely burofax only strengthened the image of the president of Barcelona and gave him time to weaken Messi’s decision.
“Messi has had no choice but to stay at Barcelona due to bad advice from his father and the law firm, because they could have saved that burofax.
“That has caused weakness to his image within the team.
“Coincidentally, Messi had the lawyers who had previously worked with Barcelona, but due to a conflict of interest, the Catalan club changed its strategy.”
Jorge coached his son at Grandoli in Rosario – Lionel’s first club – but since then has always been in control of Messi’s off-field matters, right from when he first moved to Barcelona.
It was Messi Sr that arranged the trial, secretly flew with his son to Catalonia for a trial at Barca then played hard ball to ensure his 13-year-old son was paid around £106,000 per year, even offering him to Real Madrid at one point.
Since they moved to Barcelona nearly 20 years ago, the former supervisor at a metal factory in Rosario has handled all of Messi’s dealings – from new contract after new contract to commercial sponsorships to being chief executive of his business and running the charitable foundation.
He is described by Marca as “thoughtful and calm” but has earned a reputation for being notoriously difficult at the negotiating table.
One source told The Athletic he lacked humility, saying: “He can come across as self-important, as you would expect as the dad of the best player in the world.
“Most dads of footballers are, but the way it was described to me, how he acts in meetings with the club over the years has been classless.
“Everyone knows who your son is, you don’t need to act like that.”
Messi confirmed in an interview with Goal he retracted his move because he didn’t want to go to court against the club he joined aged 13.
He is expected to return to training for the first time on Monday, working under Ronald Koeman as they look to put their frosty start behind them and reclaim the LaLiga crown.
But now the next season will be dominated by distractions of where the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will end up – with Manchester City the favourites.
Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan are also expected to try and lure the superstar to Ligue 1 and Serie A respectively.
And Sanchez is certain Messi will choose a club where he has guaranteed to win silverware to add to his staggering trophy collection.
The Mexican added: “Messi likes to win titles and will need to look for another team where he can win championships and prove that he is the best player ever.
“The whole problem with Barcelona is going to distract him next season, in such a way that there will be doubts both about his behaviour and the fact that he is not the same young man who ran all over the pitch.”
This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.