- Lionel Messi refused to take part in the traditional pre-match huddle during Valencia clash
- The Argentine instead walked down the tunnel after having a frosty conversation with Pique
- His gesture suggested things might not be going fine under the new manager Quique Setien
Lionel Messi reportedly refused to take part in the traditional pre-match huddle between Barcelona and Valencia, suggesting that the Camp Nou outfits may be going through a series of internal crisis.
Valencia hosted the Spanish champion on January 25 at Mestalla Stadium but the encounter saw Barcelona suffer their first defeat under the new manager Quique Setien.
Barcelona were the favourites to win the game after a beautiful start but Maxi Gomez's second-half brace was the magic needed to condemn La Blaugrana to their fourth defeat in La Liga.
Quique Setien's honeymoon with Camp Nou then seemed to be over after senior Barcelona players were reportedly left confused with the coaching pattern of the new manager.
The manager also risked the wrath of his senior players including Lionel Messi after he blamed the loss on his players, saying the defeat was because they failed to listen to instruction.
Amid report of possible revolts, more reports have now emerged claiming Messi failed to take part in the pre-match huddle containing Antoine Griezmann, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique.
The Argentine, who looked unhappy, walked down to the tunnel after having a frosty conversation with his Pique in what suggested that things might not be the way they look under the leadership of the 61-year-old manager.
According to the Spanish press, Deportes Cuatro, the gesture might be owed to the fact that Messi is tired of how Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board are treating his contract.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that Lionel Messi has hit back at Eric Eric Abidal, Barcelona sporting director, for playing a blame game on players over the sacking former manager Ernesto Valverde.
Speaking with a Spanish media outlet Diario Sport, Abidal had submitted that lack of full commitment from players was responsible for Valverde's Camp Nou exit.
The former defender also ascribed lack of internal communication to Valverde's disgraceful sacking while positing that the relationship between the former coach and his players dived into the wrong way, hence the decision.