It’s easy to get carried away after something spectacular happens in football, but Barcelona’s 8-2 defeat tonight shows that Lionel Messi has one almighty decision to make.
He’s the best footballer in the world and he should be able to elevate almost any team to victory, but even he is helpless when he’s playing in an ageing team that’ lacks any organisation or desire.
Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are on their last legs and there’s nobody there to take over from them, while the midfield doesn’t actually seem to excel at anything.
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They don’t possess players who are good enough to control a game at the top level and carve another team apart, they don’t press or defend well, while some of them actually looked scared of the ball.
In the forward positions Luis Suarez is a constant injury threat and Antoine Griezmann hasn’t brought his Atletico Madrid form, so Messi finds himself in a team that’s not up to his standards at all.
If you look at the bigger picture you can see this is an old team that needs to be replaced, but Barca don’t have any money to make big moves in the transfer market, while Ansu Fati is the only youngster who looks like he could be a star at this point.
The reality is that Lionel Messi is 33 so he only has two or three years left at the top level, and this looks like a five year rebuilding project at least.
In La Liga Real Madrid are sorted for years with a strong team that’s backed up by some outstanding youngsters, while Barca demonstrated tonight that they can’t hang with the big boys in Europe either.
It’s an awful thing to say, but Messi is going to have to leave Barcelona if he wants to win another major trophy before he retires…