Former Barcelona manager Louis Van Gaal has blamed Lionel Messi for Barcelona not winning the Champions League in recent years. He claims that the Argentine superstar has not been adapting to the team, rather the team is adapting to him.
Barcelona won their last Champions League in 2015. They were knocked out of the semi final last season, and out from the quarter final stage in the three seasons before that. Lionel Messi fared poorly in the matches they were knocked out, and he was criticized for his performances. But the blame was not put on him completely, as defensive debacles and poor mentality was major factors in the knocking out of the Blaugranas.
But not louis Van Gaal. For him, Messi is the main reason Barcelona have faltered in the grandest stage of club football. In an interview with French outlet El-Pais, he claimed the Argentine to be factor determining Ernesto Valverde’s lack of European success.
“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.” He said.
“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?” van Gaal put up a question.
As a captain, Messi should think about it, the Dutchman stated. “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."
Van Gaal claims, it is Messi to whom the players adapt to, not Messi who adapts to the team. He said that Pep Guardiola made Messi adjust to his tactics for the betterment of the team and that is why that team was so good.
Van Gaal, during his Barcelona days, also faced problems with handling a superstar in Rivaldo. Van Gaal was also the manager of Bayern Munich, Manchester United and the Netherlands, but now he has retired from coaching.