Lionel Messi has launched a stinging message toward Barcelona board member Javier Faus, calling the director "someone who doesn't know anything about football" after he claimed the four-time Ballon d'Or winner requested a salary increase with his next contract.
As reported by Argentina's RAC1 radio station (via Sid Lowe of The Guardian), Messi suggests Faus doesn't have the footballing merit to be at a club of La Blaugrana's stature:
Barcelona is the best club in the world and should be represented by the best board members too. Senor Faus is someone who doesn't know anything about football and wants to manage Barcelona like a business, which it is not.
Besides, I would remind him that neither I nor anyone from my camp has asked for any wage increase and he knows that very well.
Messi's critical statement comes in response to Faus suggesting the club don't need to enter contract talks at this moment, per Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail Online:
The comments are a response to Faus saying two weeks ago that Barcelona had no reason to sit down with ‘this gentleman’ and discuss his current contract. The tone of Faus’ comment was deemed inappropriate by most Barcelona fans at the time and now Messi has hit back.
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell previously stated Messi hadn't requested a pay rise back in September, claiming the invaluable player "hasn't said anything" after Real Madrid awarded Cristiano Ronaldo a bumper new contract, per Sky Sports.
Messi is currently recovering from the hamstring injury that has kept him out since Barca's 4-1 win over Real Betis on Nov. 10, an encounter he could only manage 22 minutes in, per WhoScored.com.
As tweeted by Eurosport, the 26-year-old is expected to return at the beginning of January:
BACK IN BUSINESS: Lionel Messi is to return to training at Barcelona on January 2. http://t.co/tEsxTbyq83— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) December 18, 2013
Despite suffering a frustrating start to the season, Messi has managed to rack up 14 goals in as many games across La Liga and the Champions League, per WhoScored.com. His last successful strikes came Nov. 6 in the European tie with AC Milan, which saw him notch a brace in front of the Camp Nou crowd.
Although currently on the sidelines, the world-renowned maestro is set to do battle with Ronaldo and Franck Ribery for this season's Ballon d'Or.
Messi is widely regarded as the outsider right now due to both his injury problems and Ronaldo's insane run of goals. The Portuguese star has scored 26 times in 20 games this season alone, not including his four-goal haul across two ties against Sweden that thrusted his nation toward the 2014 World Cup.
Is criticism of Lionel Messi too severe in the Spanish press?
Messi has been the subject of criticism from Madrid-based press in recent times, a repeated occurrence that recently forced teammate Cesc Fabregas to jump to his defence, per Mundo Deportivo (via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC).
The unneeded spat with Faus, and indeed, Messi's willingness to retaliate will only launch the player into the firing line once again.
While Messi is entitled to say what he thinks in public, comments of such a forthright nature may have been better placed when the spotlight of judgement isn't blurring his view so intensely.