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Lionel Messi is unhappy under Luis Enrique and could be sold

Lionel Messi is unhappy under Luis Enrique and could be sold

Posted by Juan Gavasa on January 07, 2015

After he had an apparent falling out with coach Luis Enrique, there's speculation in Europe that Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona in a historic transfer.

As a general rule all Messi transfer rumors are to be taken with a grain of salt. For one thing there are only a handful of clubs in the entire world who could pay the estimated $600 million in buyout money and salary that it'd take to pry him from Barcelona.

But there are signs that this time is different.

Guillem Balague, the respected Spanish soccer journalist who wrote a book on Messi, said on Sky Sports that this is the closest he has ever come to leaving Barcelona.

"He has never been as close as this to leaving. That doesn’t mean he is going to leave," he said. "What I mean is that it’s a possibility that has not only entered his mind – Barcelona were thinking of selling him about six, seven months ago."

Messi was benched in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad in La Liga. The benching came after he and Enrique had "a sharp exchange of words" at practice on Friday, according to ESPN's Graham Hunter. The day after the loss Messi didn't show up to training, saying he had gastroenteritis. According to reports out of Spain, Enrique wanted to punish the superstar for his absence but was ultimately talked out of it.

On the same day, the club fired its sporting director after he criticized the president, and his assistant — legendary defender Carlos Puyol — immediately quit.

In the midst of that chaos, Messi transfer rumors of all shapes and sizes started up. Messi started following Premier League club Chelsea and two of their players on Instagram.

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