Barcelona midfielder Phillipe Coutinho insists he can’t explain why the club has failed in the Champions League recently, with Messi ever present.
The Blaugrana haven’t lifted the famous trophy since 2015 when they defeated Juventus in the showpiece event to secure the club’s 5th European Cup. In the years since they have had to watch arch-rivals Real Madrid win the prize three times in succession, despite still being the dominant force domestically in Spain.
Barcelona won La Liga and the Copa Del Rey last year, but came up short in the quarter-final stage of the Champions League, suffering a shocking defeat against AS Roma after relinquishing a 3-goal first-leg lead.
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Los Blanco’s have beaten all-comers to take ownership of football’s most coveted prize in recent years, despite the fact that Barcelona boast arguably the greatest player in the world within their ranks – Lionel Messi.
According to ESPN, club teammate Coutinho has no idea why the Spanish champions have struggled to match Madrid in Europe, stating that Messi is hellbent on winning the trophy for the fifth time of his illustrious career.
The Brazilian told reporters on Monday: “It’s difficult [to explain].
“He is the best player in the world, [the best] in the history of the game. It’s difficult to explain it.
“I don’t have the explanations. Messi, like all of us, is really motivated to win big things [this season] and the Champions League is one of them.
“Motivation to win the Champions League is always really high, for every team that takes part, because of the grandeur of the tournament. It has been a few years since Barca won it and this year the players, the club and all of the fans are really motivated to win it.”
Coutinho will make his first appearances for Barca in Europe’s premier competition on Tuesday as Ernesto Valverde’s men take on PSV Eindhoven in their opening Group B clash.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 17, 2018
Messi will be expected to lead the team in attack once more and supporters will hope that he can continue his scintillating form at the start of the new campaign, having scored 4 goals in 4 matches already this term.