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Garcia Pimienta reflects on coaching Messi and Barcelona sacking – ‘Don’t know why I was kicked out’



Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Garcia Pimienta’s departure from Barcelona after a relatively successful season at the subsidiary level will go down as one of the club’s unsolved mysteries.

It was back in 2021 that the club announced their decision to sack the Barcelona B manager with one year left on his contract.

They cited sporting, financial and restructuring-based reasons for their decision, but none could justify the departure of a man who had given over half his life to the club’s academy.

Speaking to the media in a recent interview, the former Barça Athletic and current Las Palmas manager commented on a number of topics related to his former employers.

Garcia Pimienta discusses Barcelona sacking

The highlight of his interview, however, was his explosive statement on the manner of his sacking.

“I don’t know why I was kicked out. They told me that I would continue for one more year and after two weeks, they kicked me out. It was Rafa Yuste who told me,” he slammed Barcelona for the unprofessional move.

“I knew badly because they told me that I was continuing, and in June, when they told me no, they already had all the coaches [replacements].

“Six months later I joined Las Palmas. There is life outside of any club,” he concluded, taking a dig at his former employers and praising his current job.

Garcia Pimienta during his time with Barcelona. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

On coaching Lionel Messi

Pimienta then went on to speak about one of the highlights of his time in Catalonia, the chance to oversee Lionel Messi as his mentor.

“With Messi, I had the opportunity to be his coach, in 2002, with him, Piqué and Cesc. With that team, we won everything. You knew that the generation was going to go far.”

“Messi was sensational, I never left him as a substitute. We played short games and I took the ball, haggled and scored. I was leaving training and telling my girlfriend ‘there is a boy there that if nothing happens, weird, he was going to be like Maradona’,” he added on the Argentine ace.

Finally, he spoke about how his contact with Messi dwindled over the years and what he made of the time he spent with the legend.

“With players like that, you have to let them flow. At the age of 16, he already made his debut with Barcelona B. When I was in Barcelona, I had a lot of contact with him.”

The former La Masia trainer then revealed that, as the manager of Barcelona B, he was expected to be ready to take over the reins of the first team.

“The Barça B coach has to be prepared in case the first team needs it. I never saw myself nearby. Everyone has to have important challenges. I am very proud to have come here. My challenge is to set short-term goals,” he said modestly.

Finally, the Las Palmas manager was asked about his relationship with Barcelona coach Xavi and what he made of the Spanish tactician’s decision to leave in June.

“I have a very good relationship with him. I don’t know if he can stay but I’d like it because it’s total Barça DNA.”

“He wanted to be Barça’s coach and if he has made that decision[to leave], you have to respect it. When he gives that exclusive it is because he has thought about it a lot,” he concluded.

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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