Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has responded to the outburst from striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic by suggesting that the Swedish misfit's days at the club could well be numbered.
Guardiola has refuted talk of problems with the player, instead citing personal issues as the reason behind the fallout. He also revealed that the club will analyse the transfer market in the coming days, hinting that the 28-year-old will depart if an appropriate offer comes in, with Milan the most likely destination as talks from all parties concerned suggest that the wheels are in motion on a possible agreement.
"If I have only spoken to him twice in the last six months, it is for some reason," said the Barca coach to the assembled press.
"There's always a reason for things. I'm super communicative and talked to him for 45 minutes, it was not a tense conversation.
"I have an open door, if we do not [speak], sure there's a reason but now is not the time to talk about it. I insist. For the sake of the institution it is better not say anything."
Guardiola then suggested that it is Ibra's personality rather than his football that has caused the rift.
"There's always a player and a person and the person comes first. I am coach of Barcelona, not coach of one player.
"I have no problems with his behaviour in training. He was an example of professionalism at work, but there is a person and that always comes first."
Guardiola also dismissed suggestions of any similarity between Ibra's situation and that of his predecessor Samuel Eto'o and fumed at the Swedish striker's decision to leave the field at Camp Nou ahead of the Joan Gamper trophy celebrations. Barca beat Milan 3-1 on penalties after the season curtain raiser at Camp Nou finished 1-1.
"We speak calmly and we will study why he did not remain for the celebration. We will look at [August] 31. We are mature and he knows the reason why, but I will tell in due course," the 39-year-old stated.
"The [transfer] market is open until 31 [August] and I'm not going to explain now. If he [Ibrahimovic] stays here, my duty is to recover and tell him the reason of these things. It depends on how things go, we will analyse the situation.
"The situation of Ibrahimovic has nothing to do with that of Samuel [Eto'o]."
Guardiola finished by responding to recent comments from Ibrahimovic's agent Mino Raiola, who labelled Pep as less than perfect.
"He made statements. The statements we will have to put up with. He's free to comment. I'll give my reaction in due course, he knows why."