Barcelona lash out at Ibrahimovic’s agent

Barcelona lash out at Ibrahimovic's agent
Barcelona have threatened to sever their contract with Mino Raiola, the agent of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after his public criticism of coach Pep Guardiola.

“The executive committee of the FC Barcelona board of directors would like to publicly denounce the conduct over the last few days of the agent of our player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sr Mino Raiola, whose declarations have put into question the honour and moral integrity of our coach Josep Guardiola,” read a statement on the Spanish champions’ website.

“These declarations have affected the relationship between the coach and the player and as a result the willingness of the player to fulfil his obligations.

“As such the declarations are a flagrant breach of the contract which Sr Raiola’s company have with the club for representation and management.

“Our legal department is therefore considering the possibility of rescinding this contract and the cessation of the annual payment Sr Raiola’s company receives from the club as part of this agreement.”

Barcelona were responding to an interview with Raiola that appeared in Friday’s edition of the Marca sports daily, in which he described his client’s position at the club as “surreal”.

Ibrahimovic has four years to run on his contract but has seemingly fallen out of favour with Guardiola since the arrival of Spain international striker David Villa from Valencia earlier in the summer.

In an interview with Italian TV channel Sky Sport 24 on Wednesday, Ibrahimovic claimed he had only spoken to Guardiola twice in six months.

The tall, skilful Swedish forward joined Barca from Inter Milan last year and is in talks with AC Milan about a return to Italy.

Raiola told Sky Sport 24 earlier on Friday that Ibrahimovic’s move to the seven-time European champions was close to completion.

“The baby is nearly born and we are in the eighth month of pregnancy,” Raiola said after a meeting with Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani during a marathon three-day session of negotiations in Barcelona.

Ibrahimovic’s move to Milan had looked an unlikely possibility a week ago, with Milan reportedly offering just six million euros and Barca holding out for 50 million euros.

The 28-year-old former Ajax and Juventus hitman arrived at then-European champions Barcelona from Inter last year for a reported fee of 69 million euros that included Samuel Eto’o moving in the opposite direction.

He made a strong start to life at Camp Nou, netting in his first four league games and scoring the winner against Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid, but his form dipped later in the season and he was troubled by thigh and calf injuries.

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