Luis Enrique has accepted there was tension between himself and Lionel Messi during his successful time in charge of Barcelona.
Now leading Spain, Luis Enrique was at the helm of the Catalan club when Messi starred in their incredible treble triumph in 2014-15.
Towards the end of that campaign there were regular stories in the Spanish media hinting at a rift between the head coach and his star player.
The former Barca boss has rarely gone on record about his relationship with Messi, but has now opened up about the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“Until the issue was resolved there was a period of tension,” Luis Enrique told Catalunya Radio.
“Which I was not looking for in any way, but which happened and needed to be managed.
“But today I can only say good things about Leo Messi.”
Luis Enrique quit Barca after three seasons, spending the next year on sabbatical, but confirmed he made his decision to leave Camp Nou several months before a public announcement was made.
“At the beginning of the third season I had already asked the club to start looking for a replacement,” he added. “In a selfish way, I didn’t have any more energy to give.
“I also thought that with this group of players, who were so special, it would have been the easiest thing for me to renew. I mean, it would have been the easiest thing in the world. To sign a huge contract, being in my home, with the best players in the world… it could hardly be better.
“But if I’m being honest, I think that players sometimes need a new face who will tell them things differently. I think there comes a time when the message you send, if there is a message, expires. And you need to send a message.”
Messi and Barca are on track to win the treble again, with Ernesto Valverde’s side through to the final of the Copa del Rey, in the last 16 of the Champions League and seven points clear at the top of LaLiga.
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