Barca bite back at Ibra agent criticisms

MADRID - Barcelona warned Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent on Monday that further criticisms of the club could result in them seeking an exit for the Swedish striker.

The Spanish champions were reacting to quotes from an interview Mino Raiola gave when he said Barca coach Pep Guardiola "would need to go to a mental hospital," if he was considering off-loading Ibrahimovic for next season.

"If Barca need money why do they always talk about Ibrahimovic and not Lionel Messi or Pedro?" Raiola was quoted as having said on the Barca website.

Barca director Joan Oliver jumped to the defence of Guardiola.

"We didn't like Mino Raiola's comments, above all the tone he used. The reference to Guardiola was in bad taste," Oliver said. "The club doesn't need the money. We don't want to sell.

"If things become more complicated though, there will be no alternative (but to seek an exit)."

Ibrahimovic failed to meet expectations in his first season with Barca, and finished the campaign being used as a substitute behind youngster Bojan Krkic.

The arrival of Spain striker David Villa from Valencia for 40 million euros last week added to speculation in the media that he could be surplus to requirements, even though the club have said he is not for sale.

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