Lionel Messi news: Van Gaal asks Argentine why Barcelona haven't won more UCL titles despite his 'best in the world' tag
What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
It has been a few years since the Blaugrana lifted the coveted Champions League title, with the last time being in 2015 when the club won their fifth European trophy after defeating Serie A giants Juventus in the final.
In the recently-concluded campaign, the Spanish champions were not only favourites to win the continental title, but were also expected to complete a treble after having secured a place in the Copa del Rey finals as well.
Led by the pre-season promises made by Messi, Barcelona made their way to the semi-finals of the Champions League where they faced a resilient Liverpool team that would go on to dash their hopes of European glory.
After a decisive first-leg win at Camp Nou, Ernesto Valverde's men had a three-goal advantage going into the second leg of the fixture. However, the Reds shocked the visitors at Anfield by overturning their massive deficit to register one of the best comebacks in the competition's history.
The Premier League giants went on to lift the Champions League title after defeating Tottenham Hotspur in the final at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
The heart of the matter
Van Gaal has now blamed Messi for Barcelona's European failures, stating that he has not won enough for a player who has been deemed the best in the world.
In an interview with El Pais, the former Blaugrana boss said, "I believe that there is nothing more important than the team player. Barca suffer from that. I think Messi should ask himself how it is possible that he’s gone so long without winning a Champions League."
"Look at Barcelona. How many Champions Leagues have they won with the one everybody says is the best player in the world? Look at Neymar at PSG. How many Champions Leagues has he won?"
"He’s the best individual player in the world because his stats are amazing. But why hasn’t he won a Champions League for five years?"
"As captain, you have to ask yourself why the team doesn’t win in Europe. I think that Messi is also responsible for what is happening at Barcelona, not just the coach."
"They have a squad of 30 players and I believe that Messi should adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around."
Messi recently led Argentina to the quarter-finals of the Copa America, and he will be looking to guide his national team to their first major international title in years.