Former Barcelona director explains the problem between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel M

On paper, football is easy.

Just throw the very best players in the world together and your side will surely win every trophy possible.

But will the best players in the world work well together? Who’s to say that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would continue to dominate football alongside each other in the same side?

In truth, it probably wouldn’t work.

We’re not saying that world-class superstars can’t work together of course. Just look at this current Barcelona squad to see Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar linking up perfectly at Camp Nou.

However, not everyone flourishes alongside Messi.

A certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic was once Messi’s teammate - although only for the 2009/10 season. The Swede bagged 21 goals that campaign, while Messi notched an incredible 47.

Those tallies would suggest that the pair had a pretty successful relationship but it’s been revealed that wasn’t quite the case.

FC Barcelona's Swedish forward Zlatan Ib

Former marketing director at Barcelona, Marc Ingla, has explained the problem the two forwards had at the club.

“Why did not it work for Ibra in Barca? Zlatan is a beast, a machine,” Ingla said.

“But it was next to another machine, smaller ... (laughs) it was too static, Messi might need more space. Zlatan took too much. There was a bit of friction, I believe."

FC Barcelona's Swedish forward Zlatan Ib

After that solitary campaign in Barcelona, Ibrahimovic moved to AC Milan and proceeded to score 56 goals in 85 matches in all competitions during his two seasons in Italy.

He then went to conquer France as he scored 156 goals during his four years playing for Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Manchester United last summer.

As for Messi, he’s also hit new heights since Zlatan left the club.

His 47 goals in the season he played alongside the Swede was eclipsed in the following three campaigns after he scored 53, 73(!), and 60 respectively.

It just goes to show that not all world-class player can necessarily play together on the pitch.

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