Lionel Messi has slammed Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson over his treatment of Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano. Hodgson was forced to let the Argentina midfielder go to the Nou Camp for £20million after he refused to play at Anfield.
But Barca superstar Messi says Mascherano HAD to move to save his family from a private hell in England.
Messi told the Daily Star Sunday: "Javier has a clear conscience but I wonder if the Liverpool coach has."
The striker, who is a close pal of Mascherano, 26, in the Argentina team, added: "We were in constant contact during his final nightmare year at Liverpool.
"His family was deeply unhappy in England.
"They struggled with the culture, had no friends and he told me he used to come home from training to find his wife crying.
"A man has to put his family first and Javier had to put his wife and his two daughters before football.
"Hodgson was fully aware that Javier needed to leave the country because of his family and told Javier that if the right offer came in he would be allowed to move.
"Now the coach is saying that Javier held Liverpool to ransom when it's not true. They both agreed he could go for the right price. Javier will reveal the truth of the conversations in detail one day but for now he is just happy he is at the greatest club in the world where he can finally win things - and more importantly where his family can be happy.
"He is happy now he is in a Spanish-speaking country. With all the South American players at Barcelona, he is like a new person.
"I have been speaking with him and he wants the fans to know that they were great and Liverpool Football Club will always be in his heart."