Almost a year since Lionel Messi was forced to leave FC Barcelona, his departure is still a major topic of conversation. Recent reports are now claiming that Messi feels he was betrayed by Gerard Pique in the days leading up to the fateful day when Barcelona finally made the decision to let him go.

For a full year since the infamous "burofax" that Messi sent to the club, the stance had been that the Blaugrana were doing everything they can to find a way to extend Messi's contract. Through some major changes in the organisation and better results, Messi was finally convinced to agree to an extension by the time the 2020-21 season ended.

However, upon his return from international duty in Argentina, Messi was told that he won't be offered a contract extension. Instead, the club admitted that they simply could not afford to offer him a new contract owing to their dire financial situation.

Just days later, Messi went to Paris to join PSG, but the entire football world was left in disbelief. Now, Spanish publication El Pais claims that Barcelona veteran Gerard Pique was consulted by club management last summer, and he supposedly advised the club to let Messi leave "for the sake of the club."

Regardless of Pique's opinion, the fact of the matter is that Barcelona could not afford to register Messi's new contract. Even after his departure, they also had to let go of Antoine Griezmann and some fringe players. On top of that, many of the remaining players had to accept pay cuts just to be able to help the club stay within the salary cap.

Nevertheless, it is still seen as a betrayal for Pique to have said it out loud, if the reports are true. According to Sport, "Messi is hurt by some of his teammates because he thinks they didn't support him enough," said Luis Mascaro. "He knows that Pique told Laporta that if Messi had to leave, it wouldn't be a problem."

Neither player has confirmed he report, and it remains to be seen if they will react in the coming days.

Gerard Pique and Lionel messi
Pique and Messi Getty Images