Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had 'friction' at Barcelona - Marc Ingla

Former Barcelona director Marc Ingla believes there was "friction" between Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the years they spent together in Catalonia.

Ibrahimovic was signed by Barca in 2009, but despite scoring 21 goals in his only full season with the club he was allowed to leave, initially on loan, the following year.

Ingla, who now has a role with French club Lille, feels the presence of Messi was one of the reasons the Swedish striker did not quite work out at Barca.

"Why did Zlatan not get on at Barcelona?" Ingla said in an interview with Telefoot. "He's a beast, a machine. But he was next to another machine, a smaller one [laughs].

"He was too static and Messi perhaps needed more space. Zlatan occupied too much. There was a little friction, I think."

Since Ibrahimovic left for AC Milan, there have been rumours about his relationship with Messi, although he has never hidden his admiration for the Argentine.

In previous interviews he has labelled him "one of a kind," but he's been less flattering about Pep Guardiola, who was the Barca coach at the time.

"Guardiola is a fantastic coach. But as a human? He is a coward. He is no man," Ibrahimovic told Der Spiegel in 2013.

"I told him that if I don't fit here, you have to please tell me that. But all I got was sweet talk: 'Ibra you are a super player, you do everything right.' But I still ended up on the bench."