Just a day after Lionel Messi questioned Real Madrid’s strength after losing Cristiano Ronaldo, the Barcelona icon has received a response from Julen Lopetegui.
As per The Independent, the Argentine superstar raised question marks over Barca’s greatest rivals after they saw their talisman leave to join Juventus earlier this summer, which will naturally weaken them.
In fairness, he was merely offering his opinion, one that is naturally going to be shared by many given how important Ronaldo was to the trophy haul that Real Madrid have enjoyed in recent years.
However, Lopetegui has opted to produce a stern response to Messi as he has essentially warned him not to underestimate the quality that Los Blancos still have in the squad.
“I would not doubt the players of Real Madrid,” he said, according to AS. “We have done okay but it is only the start and we have three weeks ahead with the Champions League.
“Our target is everything this season. With the league you have to always be on form and it rewards consistency but we want to win everything.”
The La Liga table would certainly back up Lopetegui’s claims, as Real Madrid have collected maximum points from their opening three games while scoring 10 goals and conceding just two.
In comparison, Barca have also won three in three while scoring 12 and conceding two which suggests that the two sides are going to be going head-to-head for the title this season.
With the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio and Isco stepping up to take on more responsibility in the absence of Ronaldo, it looks as though Lopetegui may have his side on the right track.
Nevertheless, with such a signifiant part of the season still to come, there will be times when they miss their former prolific star getting them out of trouble, and it will be in those moments where either Messi or Lopetegui is proven right as consistency will be crucial for the reigning European champions.