Rafa Marquez Opens Up on Lionel Messi Feud That Guardiola Had to Resolve at Barcelona

Rafa Marquez Opens Up on Lionel Messi Feud That Guardiola Had to Resolve at Barcelona

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
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  • A former Barcelona player has admitted that he wasn't friends with Lionel Messi
  • Rafa Marquez was at the club when Messi was coming through the ranks in 2006
  • Then head coach Pep Guardiola was at one time forced to intervene between the two

Rafa Marquez has opened up about his issue with Lionel Messi during their days at Barcelona. The Mexican defender was part of the all-conquering Barcelona team under Pep Guardiola.

He joined the Blaugrana from Monaco in 2003 and spent seven years in Spain, winning two Champions League and four La Liga titles, among other domestic competitions.

Rafa Marquez, Barcelona, Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola
Rafa Marquez during his presentation as a Barcelona player on July 9, 2003. Photo by Lluis Gene.
Source: Getty Images

He was present when young Messi was introduced to the world by Fran Rijkaard before coming into life completely under Guardiola.

Why Marquez didn't like Messi

But unlike many people who were in awe of the Argentine's dribbling skills, Marquez took issue with it, which brought a rift between him and the player who would later win eight Ballon d'Or titles.

"We knew that Leo could dribble to three or four players but sometimes exaggerated it a lot. We tried to direct it, saying to him: 'Here you dribble, here you don't,'" he said in a YouTube interview with Yordi Rosado.

The most-capped Mexican international of all time admits that he was not friends with the diminutive winger and at one point, Guardiola had to resolve the conflict.

"My strong insistence on these instructions started a problem between Messi and me. We began to exchange words and Guardiola had to intervene to solve the problem. Messi and I were not big friends; we were colleagues."

Marquez, however, admitted that Messi is the greatest player he has ever seen.

"Even then, I admire Leo for his career and he's the greatest in football history."

Xavi Hernandez's replacements at Barcelona

He left Barcelona for New York Red Bulls in 2010 but has since returned to Spain, where he is the coach of Barcelona B team. His name has been fronted as one of the successors to Xavi Hernandez.

Sports Brief reported that Xavi dropped a bombshell a few weeks ago when he announced that he would quit his role as Barcelona's head coach at the end of the season.

The former midfielder led his old club to the La Liga title last season, but the going has been tough this year, with Barcelona being forced to play catch-up to Real Madrid and Girona.

Authors
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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
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