Lionel Messi News: "Messi is holding back other players," remarks pundit
What's the story?
Irish football legend and former Premier League star Niall Quinn remarked that Messi is holding back the other creative players at Barcelona, following the Blaugrana's embarrassing 4-0 loss at Anfield to Liverpool that saw them eliminated from the Champions League.
In case you didn't know...
Niall Quinn, an awardee of the Most Excellence Order of the British Empire for his services to football is an ex-Premier League star who played for Arsenal, Manchester City a, d Sunderland during the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. He is also the second highest goalscorer for the Republic of Ireland National team and currently works as a pundit for Sky Sports.
Although Barcelona are well on course for another domestic double, they once again faltered in the Champions League. The Catalan giants have already won La Liga and will face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final later this month. They were eliminated from the semi-finals of the Champions League by Liverpool last week.
Although Ernesto Valverde's team won the first leg 3-0 at the Camp Nou, the Reds put in a spirited display in the return fixture to beat them 4-0 at Anfield. Messi was kept quiet by the Liverpool defense with other creative players like Philippe Coutinho failing to produce anything substantial for Ernesto Valverde's side
It was the second successive season where Barcelona failed to protect their three-goal lead from the first leg, with the Blaugrana suffering a similar fate against Roma last season. Besides leading the goalscoring charts in La Liga, Messi is the top scorer in the Champions League as well, with the Argentine netting 12 goals in the continental competition this season.
The heart of the matter
Commenting on Sky Sports after Barcelona's Champions League debacle against Liverpool, Quinn was critical of Messi's impact on his teammates
"As good as Messi is, he is stopping other players from producing their best. We may be coming to the time when players like Coutinho and all the other players always seem to want to do what he needs to do.
I believe there's a feeling around some Barcelona fans and some ex-players and pundits that Messi is causing too much negative effect on the abilities of the other players"
He stressed on the fact the Barcelona's other creative players seemed stifled and restrained in the expression of their individual abilities as they seem to always be trying to feed the ball to Messi or looking to Messi for ideas.
Valverde will be looking to give the academy players a chance in the first team for this Sunday's La Liga fixture away at Eibar. Barcelona's focus will remain steadfastly on the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on 25th May.