Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has said that he took the decision of leaving Lionel Messi on the bench due to the confidence in the rest of the team. Messi was on the substitutes bench for the second leg against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final. It was a match that Barcelona lost 3-0, while the aggregate 7-0 loss was one of the heaviest defeats they have suffered in the history. This has put a lot of pressure on manager Vilanova, who has missed several months of action due to cancer treatment.
Vilanova took the gamble of playing Messi in the first leg at the Allianz Arena. It was a gamble that did not play dividends, as the team was convincingly beaten 4-0 with Messi largely being a passenger in the match. Strangely, Vilanova decided to use Messi in the weekend’s match against Athletic Bilbao. The Argentine star came on as a substitute in the match, which prompted suggestions that he may start against Bayern Munich. However, Vilanova said that he was not yet fully fit in order to start the match. There was a fear that he may aggravate the injury if he played against Bayern Munich.
There has been criticism of Barcelona for being over reliant on Lionel Messi.
“Leo played in Bilbao on Saturday because he felt better. He imprinted a change on the team but at the end of the game he felt some strange sensations. He trained this week, but he didn’t feel right. He is an explosive player and there was a risk he could tear his hamstring, so he couldn’t help the team in these conditions. All these years when we have played without Leo we have won games by small margins, but this year in the league we have won games 5-0 and 3-0 without him on the pitch,” said Vilanova.
After recently managing to reach the 300th goal mark for Barcelona, the superstar Lionel Messi has been attracting lot of praise. The assistant manager of Barcelona, Jordi Roura has been one of the first to praise the player. Messi recently scored two goals in the 2-1 win over Granada. His first goal helped him reach the 300 goal mark for the club. Roura has said that he is extremely impressed with his efficiency when it comes to scoring. Messi managed to score two goals at a time when most of his teammates were missing a number of clear cut chances.
It looked like Barcelona were going to endure a night of frustration, which could possibly result in the second league defeat of the season. However, the two goals from Lionel Messi helped Barcelona secure another three points on the way to the title. Granada had taken the lead after just 26 min. Even though Barcelona have lost just one match in the league this season, there was a fear that they would be heading for the second defeat of the league campaign after the Barcelona players were guilty of missing several clear-cut chances. At this period, Messi stepped up to the plate by scoring two goals in the second half to hand Barcelona the win.
“What am I going to say? It is something extraordinary. To score 301 goals I think is incredible and, in this game, when we lacked cutting edge he helped us. The result is very good but I don’t think it was the only good thing. We weren’t clinical in front of goal, but these players love to compete and after the first goal we have gone until the end and managed to come back. We have suffered because it is logical to suffer at some point,” said Roura.
The Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with the club that will keep him at the Catalan Giants until 2018. The 25-year-old Lionel Messi is regarded as the best player in the world. He recently broke the record of having scored the most number of goals in a calendar year. He has so far scored 90 goals in all competitions, while there are still a few matches left in the calendar year for him to score even more. Barcelona revealed a few months ago that they are in negotiations with the striker over the possibility of extending his new deal.
He has also been handed a bumper contract for six years, which will make the best paid player in the world. Even though Messi has been one of the most influential players for the club, his wages were not thought to be at the top of the tree. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Samuel Eto’o, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were all ahead of him in the pecking order. However, Messi was able to overtake all of them due to his incredible sponsorship deals, but this new contract will make him one of the best paid players in the world outright. Messi recently said that he would be happy to commit with Barcelona for life.
Meanwhile, Carlos Puyol and Xavi have also extended their contracts as well. “FC Barcelona can announce that it has reached agreements with Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Leo Messi for the renewal of their respective contracts. This news means that FC Barcelona has secured its ties with three of its most important players. Over the course of the next few weeks, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Leo Messi will all be signing their respective new contracts,” said a statement on the official website of Barcelona.