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Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar/Mbappe Watch

11 Stars Who Left Barca Because Of Messi

Although Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest player in FC Barcelona's long history, many feel his career has harmed a few other players' chances of shining, including Philippe Coutinho. Here are 11 big names who left the club due to the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's excellence.

Click through the gallery above to see 11 players who left Barca because of Messi!

In a recent interview, Brazil icon Rivaldo claimed that Coutinho has struggled to adapt to life at the Blaugrana because of Messi's presence. While he has not yet left the club permanently, the former Liverpool star has spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Bayern Munich, and is tipped to leave the Catalans on a permanent basis come the end of the season.

Dutch legend Frank de Boer recently echoed Rivaldo's sentiment, suggesting that the 27-year-old's role at Barca is too similar to Messi's, and that the Blaugrana cannot afford to have two of the same players in the team, especially as it would leave them short defensively.

Coutinho would not be the only player to have left the club because of the team's captain – his countryman Neymar seemingly left the Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 to escape the Argentine's shadow.

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In 2008, both Ronaldinho and Deco were sold upon the arrival of Spanish tactician Pep Guardiola, and his decision was reportedly made for the betterment of Messi's future, as was claimed by former Barca midfielder Aleksandr Hleb last year.

The Belarusian footballer said that: "Ronaldinho and Deco came to training drunk. That's why Ronaldinho and Deco were sold in 2008. Because they (Barca) were afraid that they would bring down Lionel Messi."

Sometimes controversial striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic left around the same time Guardiola began to deploy Messi in a "false nine" position, while Portuguese forward Ricardo Quaresma's exit from the club in 2004 might have been due to his natural role being a right-winger.

Klopp: Why I Like Messi More Than Ronaldo

The skilful attacker left the Catalans ahead of the 2004/05 season, the same campaign Messi started getting regular opportunities in the senior team. To see some more players whose time at Barcelona were cut short due to the Argentine talisman, click through the gallery above!

Do you think any of the players in the gallery should have had longer careers at Barcelona? Let us know in the comments section below.

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