Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at Barcelona didn’t last long or go too well, but when he first arrived Lionel Messi was so worried about losing his place that he sent a message to manager Pep Guardiola .
After winning the treble in 2008/09, Guardiola signed Ibrahimovic from Inter, with Samuel Eto’o heading in the opposite direction, but the Swede spent just one season in Spain before moving to Milan.
He didn’t stay long, but his presence was enough to worry Messi that his place at Barca was not secure.
In the book “Messi Mystery” by Sebastian Fest and Alex Juillard, it is explained that Ibra’s arrival forced Messi to send disturbing messages to manager Guardiola.
“I can see that I am no longer important for the team, so…”, the book says, that he wrote in the Argentine’s message.
The message was reportedly sent on the team bus as he found it difficult to express his feelings to someone like Pep.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or player was not a world-class player at the time, although he was already developing into one of the best on the planet and had made two poor performances before Ibrahimovic’s arrival.
It was Messi’s fourth season in the first team, but the book continues: “Messi had failed to shine in some games and Ibrahimovic was playing well. Suddenly, there were complications for the Argentine”.
Ibrahimovic’s time as the main player was short, although very soon the veteran began to remain Messi’s shadow and remained his backup.
Guardiola moved Messi from the wings to the middle, where he went on to score 47 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions, while ‘Ibra’ forced him to play out wide.
Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, scored 21 goals in 45 appearances for Barcelona before returning to Milan, first on loan and then moving to France, England and the USA before returning to the Rossoneri.