Quique Setién Claims Lionel Messi Is ‘Difficult to Manage’

Quique Setien, Lionel Messi, Eder Sarabia

Former Barcelona manager Quique Setién has given an insight into managing Lionel Messi, labelling the forward the ‘best of all time’, even if his greatness makes him difficult to manage at times.

Setién managed Barcelona between January and August, before his dismissal following their 8-2 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich.

In Setién’s short, ultimately disappointing stint in charge, he managed Messi 25 times – during which the Argentine contributed directly to 39 goals, despite Barcelona’s other shortcomings.

Lionel Messi

In an interview with El Pais, Setién – whose relationship with Messi was the subject of much scrutiny earlier in the year – compared the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to basketball great Michael Jordan, saying his ‘continuity’ is unrivalled in football, but that he is a difficult presence to manage.

“I think Messi is the best of all time,” Setién said. “There have been other great players who have been great, but the continuity that this boy has had throughout the years has not been had by anyone.

“Leo is difficult to manage. Who am I to change him! If they have accepted him as he is for years and have not changed him.

“There’s another facet beyond just the player and it’s more difficult to manage. Much more difficult. It’s something inherent in many athletes that can be seen in the Michael Jordan documentary [‘The Last Dance’]. You see things you don’t expect.

Quique Setien

“He’s very reserved but he makes you see the things that he wants. He doesn’t talk much.”

Given that Messi is more than 100 goals clear at the top of La Liga‘s all-time scoring charts, and by far the leading scorer in Barcelona’s history, Setién was probably right just to leave him to it.

Barça have continued to struggle since parting company with Setién in August, and have won just two of their first six league matches under Ronald Koeman in 2020/21. They sit eight points adrift of Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga, having played a game fewer than the defending champions.

Meanwhile, off-field turmoil continues to threaten the stability of the club.

This content was originally published here.