Barcelona have fired director Pere Gratacos following comments he made about star forward Lionel Messi after the draw for the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.
As Goal's Joe Wright reported, the director of training and education at Camp Nou reminded fans the Blaugrana are more than just Messi, and in the process, he said the Argentinian wouldn't be as great without his team-mates: "Barcelona are not here only because of Messi. He's very important but it was the team who won [against Athletic Bilbao in the last 16]. Without Neymar, Luis Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique and the others, he wouldn't be such a good player."
Those comments did not sit well with the Blaugrana, who promptly sacked Gratacos, saying his opinions "do not coincide with those of the club." Per sports writer Rafael Hernandez, Gratacos remains in charge of the La Masia 360 project.
When the news broke, opinions on Gratacos' comments and the club's actions varied wildly. ESPN FC's Samuel Marsden was shocked:
Hernandez pointed out the interpretation of his comments led to plenty of confusion:
As Diario Sport (h/t Marsden) reported, the comments came just days after club CEO Oscar Grau said the Catalans had to apply "common sense" to contract negotiations with Messi, with plenty of fans and pundits suggesting it was a means of lowering the Argentina international's demands.
Sport's Rik Sharma thought Gratacos' dismissal may have had something to do with that:
It's a move that will sit well with some fans, and as Gratacos will continue his work with La Masia and elsewhere, its main purpose seems to be to send a clear signal to Messi.