That’s according to Spanish football expert and author Jimmy Burns, who has written a book about Messi.
Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool last January in a deal worth £142m and he enjoyed a strong start to life at the Nou Camp.
But the Brazilian has struggled this season and reports have suggested he’s unhappy and wants to leave.
Coutinho appears unhappy and has struggled to replicate the form he showed at Liverpool.
And Burns believes the problem lies with Messi’s influence at the club.
“I don’t think Coutinho is personally very happy,” he exclusively told Starsport.
“I think he’s sensitive to the fact that a lot of fans and people in the club think that he hasn’t really performed in terms of what the club paid for him.”
The Coutinho revelation comes amid news that:
“They think he’s over-priced, over-valued and that it was a transfer deal that’s been questioned,” Burns continued.
“The problem he’s got is obviously he’s expected to be an (Andres) Iniesta and also play upfront and obviously he’s nowhere near as good as Iniesta.
“And he’s also got the Messi problem. He’s under Messi’s shadow and Messi is the point of reference at which all the players at Barca are judged.
“He’s not only the star but he’s also the director of the orchestra.”
Coutinho has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, which would undoubtedly ruffle the feathers of Liverpool fans.
And Burns hasn’t ruled it out, suggesting the 26-year-old may be happier back in the Premier League.
“Watch this space,” he said when asked if the deal could happen.
“Messi said to the press at the start of the season ‘this is the season we’re going to win the Champions League again’.
“I have my doubts about that but obviously if Barca were to win the Champions League it would be a great team to have been part of and he might be tempted to stay on.
“But I wouldn’t have thought he’d be in a more unhappy place than he is in Barca at the moment.”