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Lionel Messi, Luis Enrique Reportedly Still Not on Speaking Terms

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2015

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona walks down the tunnel after the final whistle and having a late penalty saved by Joe Hart of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Manchester City and Barcelona at Etihad Stadium on February 24, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Reports of a conflict in the Barcelona dressing room between star man Lionel Messi and manager Luis Enrique have returned, as Goal's Pilar Suarez claims the duo are "not on speaking terms."

The two were involved in an incident in January, via Marca, leading to plenty of speculation regarding the future of Enrique, who is in his first year as manager of the Blaugrana. And while the club has since seen an upturn in results and everyone insists the issues are in the past, Suarez reports all is still not well in the dressing room:

The pair fell out at the start of January, leading to a highly publicised power struggle, but they then called a truce—agreeing to put their differences aside for the greater good of Barcelona.

However, Goal understands that, despite this ceasefire, the pair are actually not on speaking terms. 

The club has sided with Messi on the issue and, while president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists that the coach will remain in his job next season, Luis Enrique himself realises that his position at the club is precarious.

A further reason for this is because the ex-midfielder also has a frosty relationship with many other members of the first-team squad—the ex-Roma boss's authoritarian management style is not approved by his players.

Enrique has had a strained relationship with the media ever since he took the job and continues to look uncomfortable talking about certain subjects. That was once again illustrated on Friday, when he avoided questions about Dani Alves as much as he could, via Football Espana:

footballespana @footballespana_

Luis Enrique refuses to answer questions about whether he would like Dani Alves to remain at #Barcelona next season: http://t.co/Pw1OBE9mw2

The Asturian has a history of falling out with star players, as Suarez reminded readers of the saga with club legend Francesco Totti during his time managing AS Roma.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Manager Luis Enrique of Barcelona looks on during a Barcelona press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on February 23, 2015 in Manchester,
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The report comes at an odd time, however. While January's incident came in the middle of an on-pitch crisis for Barcelona, recent results have been fantastic, and pundits have turned from criticising Enrique to praising the manager.

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The Independent's Miguel Delaney pointed out question marks surrounding his future have started to evaporate after the 2-1 win over Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League:

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Barca look close to brilliant and Luis Enrique looks less of a gamble, post-casino etc etc. Aces were high http://t.co/lsm0IVJjXu

Messi's current form also doesn't suggest any turmoil or problems, per Football365's Daniel Storey:

Daniel Storey @danielstorey85

Lionel Messi's last 20 matches. Five hat-tricks. Steady. http://t.co/NL6gqCSr5a

It's unlikely the club will comment on this latest report and instead focus on the current La Liga campaign and the return leg against the Citizens at the Camp Nou. Messi and Enrique don't have to be friends to be successful on the pitch, and with everything going well as far as the club's results go, rumours like this can only serve as a distraction.

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