I’ll sack Luis Enrique, Bartomeu tells Messi

Josep Bartomeu has told Lionel Messi he will sack Barcelona coach Luis Enrique after Sunday’s clash against Atletico Madrid, with the Argentine believed to have requested the appointment of Frank Rijkaard.

The pair held a meeting on Friday, and reports on Spain’s TV3 show Esports Club claim the Barcelona chief informed Messi of his plans, with the Argentine calling for the return of Rijkaard – the man who gave him his debut in 2004.

Barca beat Elche 5-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night to ease the pressure on Luis Enrique, whose relationship with the club’s talisman has disintegrated after he was dropped for the 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Rumours have been rife in Catalan newspapers that the pair have had a number of confrontations, which neither have denied.

But Luis Enrique isn’t expected to last much longer after being whistled by sections of the Camp Nou crowd, while Messi was afforded a typically grand reception, which appears to have confirmed Bartomeu’s plans.

The club’s president is under-fire himself following Barca’s failure to win an appeal over a ban on transfers until 2016 and the subsequent sacking of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta last week.

Carles Puyol also departed his role at the club, before Bartomeu announced the decision to hold a presidential election in the summer, one year ahead of schedule, amid rumours former chief Joan Laporta could launch a campaign to return to his former role.

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