Playing alongside Lionel Messi is a dream for most footballers but some of them have really suffered due to his presence.
Securing a move to Barcelona has often been viewed as the pinnacle of a footballer's career. But as we've seen in recent times, dream switches don't always work out. Players can struggle at big clubs due to a variety of reasons and chief among them is not being able to get along with the other individuals you share the pitch with.
Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest player of all time. He has been pivotal to Barcelona's success in the 21st century. Naturally, the club will be more accommodative to Lionel Messi than anyone else and this has manifested itself in some unpleasant ways.
In fact, there are quite a few players who have suffered at Barcelona due to Lionel Messi's presence. Here, we take a look at five players whose careers have suffered because of the Argentine legend.
5 players whose careers suffered due to Lionel Messi
Back when La Masia was still churning out world-class youngsters regularly, Barcelona were so stocked with quality players that fresh graduates had to choose between leaving the club and waiting on the sidelines for a chance.
The greatest victim of this is perhaps Pedro. Pedro broke into the senior team in 2008 and it was around that time that Barcelona re-established their dominance in Europe. Even though Pedro had serious quality, he was always viewed as a utility player. He was pushed around for seven seasons until he finally left.
Pedro was a natural right-winger. He also liked to play as a striker but since Lionel Messi had his eyes on both those positions, Pedro never really got the chance to consistently play for Barcelona. Pedro's quality shone through as he won the Premier League title with Chelsea in his first year in England.
#4 Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez arrived at Barcelona as a young player who was full of tricks and could run rings around defenders all day long. He also packed genuine pace and once he got beyond defenders, there was no catching him.
However, we never got to see the best of Alexis Sanchez at Barcelona as he was constantly in Lionel Messi's shadow. As evidenced by his stint at Arsenal, which was hugely successful on a personal note, Sanchez works best when he is allowed the freedom of the final third and is given the license to take risks.
However, the Chilean was asked to play a whole different game at Barcelona. He had to play a lot deeper and pass the ball around as the Catalans were masters of the tiki-take style of football under Pep Guardiola.
Sanchez's best season at Barcelona was his final one, where Lionel Messi spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines through injury. Sanchez was Barcelona's second highest goalscorer but continued to be underappreciated at the club.
There are also rumors that suggest an altercation broke out between Messi and Sanchez as the former was miffed with the latter's propensity to take on defenders and test the goalkeeper from range.
Sanchez decided to call it quits on his Barcelona career shortly afterwards and went on to become one of the Premier League's most lethal attackers at Arsenal.