Although we are still a few weeks away from La Liga action at best, some players have kept their name in the news thanks to various interviews.
In Leo Messi’s case, he remains a man of few words, but when he speaks, the whole world listens.
And he didn’t pass up the opportunity to let his team-mates know just what’s expected of them in the final few weeks of the 2019/20 campaign, should everything re-start as we all hope.
Barca sit atop La Liga with the destination of the trophy in their hands, and still have just as much chance of winning the Champions League as any other side left in it. Or maybe not, if Messi is to be believed.
“What I think is that [Setien] misunderstood what I said,” he began in his interview with Sport,
“What I said is that playing as we had been playing in the last games before the break, it seemed clear that we weren’t good enough to win the Champions League.”
Although speaking so frankly isn’t always well received by supporters, has Messi got a point?
In far too many matches, both under Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien, the Blaugranes have ambled through the 90 minutes, and often got a result more by luck than judgment.
Certainly, some of the fare served up hasn’t been close to what might be termed ‘vintage’ Barca.
“I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing,” Messi continued.
“Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable.
“Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing.”
Talk about really hammering home the point.
And yet it’s hard to disagree with a single word. It makes a pleasant change, just like with the Abidal situation, to see Leo on his soap box telling it like it is.
For too long now, the team have coasted along with barely a bad word said against them. Valverde, Bartomeu and anyone other than the players themselves have had to take the blame. A reminding of responsibilities never did anyone any harm.
“This break may end up benefiting us [...] We will check the level that we have or can reach when we start.”
A three-month break from competition is going to hit everyone hard, and how quickly Barca come out of the blocks after the break, will surely dictate how successful an end to the season they have.
Messi has subtly provided another reality check for his colleagues with his sign off, and the consistency of his message is great to see, will carry weight and will hopefully have the desired effect.