Lionel Messi News: Barcelona captain blames pre-season tours for the Blaugrana's slow start to the campaign
What's the story?
Lionel Messi has blamed Barcelona's pre-season tour for their stuttering start to the new campaign, admitting that the team's trips to Japan and the United States over the summer have negatively affected their form.
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona travelled to Japan to participate in pre-season games against Chelsea and Vissel Kobe back in July before flying back to Spain to face Arsenal in the Joan Gamper Trophy. The Catalan giants then made long trips to Miami and Michigan where they faced Napoli twice.
The team began their new La Liga campaign six days later with a shock defeat to Athletic Bilbao and were held to a draw by newly-promoted Osasuna, following a 5-2 win over Real Betis. They have since won games against Valencia, Villarreal and Getafe but did suffer another loss at the hands of Granada.
Ernesto Valverde's side currently sit fourth on the Spanish league table, trailing two points behind leaders and arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The club salvaged a 2-1 win over Inter Milan in their Champions League group stage clash last night, courtesy of two goals from Luis Suarez.
The heart of the matter
Messi has addressed Barcelona's dismal start to the season, telling reporters, as per beIN Sports),
"We were on that road, we knew that we were in a difficult time, but in Europe all the greats have a hard time starting the season.
"Because of the pre-season we are feeling heavy, with the pre-season trips you don't train well. I don't say it as a criticism, it's a reality.
"It's understandable that the club does these games, all the great [clubs] do and it is necessary. Little by little we are going to adapt to the competition."
Barcelona are next scheduled to face Sevilla at the Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday night.