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Barcelona director sacked after Messi comments

Pere Gratacos, who suggested Lionel Messi would not be as good without his team-mates, has been sacked as a Barcelona director.

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Gratacos, the director of training and education at Camp Nou and a key figure in the running of the famous La Masia youth system, suggested on Friday that Messi would not be the same player without his stellar team-mates' support.

"Barcelona are not here only because of Messi," he said at the draw for the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

"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.

Barca have taken swift action following those remarks, which it stresses "do not coincide with those of the club".