Well there are 2 facets to this: Leo Messi -vs- His Entourage.
Leo Messi himself is known for being on the extreme end of being reserved and shy. However he is also no doubt extremely competitive and he’s definitely opened up over the years especially after getting the captain armband.
Throughout his first half of his career he was always very sheltered and it’s mainly due to the fact that he’s easily influenced by the behaviors of surrounding senior players. (Ex: Pep getting rid of Ronaldinho to ensure Messi’s development). Pep also admits to accommodating Messi on some behaviors so he can ensure he gets the best out of him. (Okay fine lol)
Over the years, the board also built their sporting strategy (on and off pitch) around Messi which definitely gives him elevated power within the Barca hierarchy. On top of this, Luis Enrique confirmed that he had issues with Messi but of course it was resolved later. I think bottom line we all know of his reserved nature but if we are not willfully blind, over the years we can SEE he has gained a certain platform within the locker room.
HOWEVER, the vast majority of the dictator claims are already debunked such as Griezmann refuting claims that Messi was purposely hindering him, or the fact that Suarez still got kicked out despite all the “Messi influences all the transfers” claims….etc. I don’t think he was a dictator at all but he definitely had a tendency to stick with his close friends and actively promote South Americans (particularly Argentinian players) into being recruited. In fact did you see Laporta’s recent answer to the question of whether Messi wanted Barca to buy Cuti Romero? He said he would like to preserve Messi’s memory. That’s an odd answer to a straight forward question. Cuti himself even confirmed Messi wanted him to join. I think Messi always had specific suggestions and made recommendations but not to the point of dictatorship where he outright could demand and get what he wanted like the way the documentary is trying to make him out to be as an all powerful terrorist……in fact I understand at the end of the day what he always wanted was just a competitive squad who can compete and win.
FLIP SIDE - Messi’s entourage’s behavior is what REALLY fueled all these horrible reports over the years and gave credence. Not really Messi at all.
You’ve got a father who is well documented for being very rude and aggressive at the negotiating table, pressured the club for short term contracts with exponentially higher compensation as well as massive agent fees and loyalty fees….so not helping Messi’s image as a Totti-style loyal player. (Though I think Bartomeu should take responsibility too since HE IS the one who should know club finances and whether the contracts are sustainable)….
You’ve got Pepe Costa who was supposed to be the liaison /relationship manager between the players and the board. Instead he abused his position and ingratiated himself with exclusively Messi and his family and became his personal assistant while being on the club’s payroll until he was finally not renewed under Laporta. This particular thing is well documented and honestly is a dent to Messi’s image unfortunately even though it’s not really his fault. Just a matter of negative association.
Then comes his brother having access to the youth academy and getting himself appointed as advisor/agent to certain youth players. It is not normal for a family member of an existing first team player who has no football agency experience to have this sort of influence or access.
Bottom line, RMC is just taking advantage of the fact that the Catalans are no longer actively defending Messi and are now taking all the past negative reports out of context to paint a controversial character to sow discord among the public. And the foundation of this documentary is the fact that people have heard of these reports for many years now so they see it as a pattern and lends credibility to whatever story RMC is trying to put out for sensational value.