Quique Setien lasted just eight months as Barcelona’s head coach this year before he was sacked by the Catalan club in August.
The former Real Betis coach was never going to survive after losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Setien, who is currently out of work, was replaced by Ronald Koeman ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
Lionel Messi didn’t always see eye-to-eye with the Spanish coach but was still exceptional on the pitch.
In 44 games (all competitions), Messi had a hand in 58 Barcelona goals - scoring 31 times and assisting 27 goals for his teammates.
"I think Messi is the best of all time," the 62-year-old 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.
"He's very reserved but he makes you see the things that he wants. He doesn't talk much."
Meanwhile, details have emerged about a heated exchange between the pair after Barcelona drew 2-2 with Celta Vigo in June.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner reportedly urged the coach to have respect for the players in the dressing room who have won more than him.
“If you don't like what I said, you know where the door is,” Setien is understood to have told Messi.
Messi reportedly reacted by laughing compassionately at his manager.
No manager crosses Messi and survives to tell the tale.
It’s patently clear that the Argentine wields an awful lot of power at Camp Nou. Even club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the rest of the board ended up resigning last week after Messi lost faith in them.
Despite Setien’s departure, Messi still requested to leave Barça this summer.
But the 33-year-old reluctantly agreed to stay for the final year of his contract because he didn’t want to take the club to court in a bid to force his exit.
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