Barca win every time Messi doesn't play – Gatti

By Sports Desk January 25, 2021

Barcelona win every time Lionel Messi does not play as they "draw on other strengths", claims former Argentina goalkeeper Hugo Orlando Gatti.

Messi served the final match of a two-game suspension after his red card in the Supercopa de Espana decider as third-placed Barca defeated Elche 2-0 in LaLiga on Sunday.

The record six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been heavily linked with an exit on a free transfer amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Barca have won 10 of 17 games with Messi in LaLiga this season, and one of two in his absence – drawing the other.

Last season, Barca had a 66.7 winning percentage with Messi in the league – claiming 22 of 33 matches, while the Spanish giants won 60.0 per cent of their fixtures in his absence – three wins from five matchups.

But countryman Gatti, no stranger to hitting out at Argentina skipper Messi, told El Chiringuito: "Every time Messi doesn't play, Barcelona win because they can draw on other strengths.

"Football is about winning and if you play well, even better.

"Every time Messi doesn't play, Barcelona win."

Messi – out of contract at season's end – has scored 11 goals in 17 league appearances for Barca this season, while he has 14 across all competitions.

Ronald Koeman's Barca are 10 points adrift of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid through 19 rounds in 2020-21.

Barca face Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey round of 16 on Wednesday.

Related items

  • Zidane hopeful on Benzema availability for blockbuster Madrid derby Zidane hopeful on Benzema availability for blockbuster Madrid derby

    Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is hopeful his leading marksman Karim Benzema will be available to return from injury in Sunday's huge LaLiga derby against leaders Atletico Madrid.

    Benzema is Madrid's top-scorer this season with 17 goals in all competitions but has missed their past three games due to an unspecified knock.

    The France international's finishing touch was missed in Monday's 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad, which leaves third-placed Los Blancos five points behind Atletico having played a game more.

    "We hope he can be with us, but we have to wait and see because he still hasn't trained with the team," Zidane said.

    "We'll assess the situation tomorrow. He's OK. Karim's injury is much better and we'll take a look at him."

    In Benzema's absence, Madrid have collected two 1-0 wins plus the 1-1 draw with Sociedad, so his attacking prowess has been missed.

    Highly rated 20-year-old Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior came off the bench to rescue a point for Zidane's side against Sociedad, scoring in the 89th minute for his third league goal of the campaign.

    "I’m pleased he got the goal," Zidane said.

    "We picked up a point and now we have to move on. It's the result of his hard work and effort. That's what we all have to keep doing."

    Zidane remains bullish about Madrid's title hopes, with Atletico having stumbled in recent matches, collecting eight points from a possible 15, while they were also beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League last week.

    Barcelona moved past Madrid into second with their 2-0 win at Sevilla on Saturday.

  • Zidane accepts half-time changes may have cost Real Madrid Zidane accepts half-time changes may have cost Real Madrid

    Zinedine Zidane held his hands up and accepted his half-time tinkering may have cost Real Madrid in their 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad on Monday. 

    Madrid were the more threatening of the teams in the first half at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, with Mariano Diaz hitting the crossbar from close range in a lucky escape for the visitors. 

    But, seemingly unhappy with his team's performance, Zidane altered his setup at the interval to go with a back three, only for Portu to ghost in at the back post to head in a Nacho Monreal cross in the 55th minute. 

    Zidane reverted to a back four soon after and eventually Madrid got their equaliser in the 89th minute through substitute Vinicius Junior. 

    But the Frenchman seemingly felt his half-time changes may have backfired. 

    Speaking to reporters after the game, Zidane said: "I changed it [at half-time] because I wasn't happy with our pressing. 

    "It was those 10-15 minutes and we changed it again and we were better playing a 4-3-3. Our substitutes did well after coming on." 

    Zidane was then asked again if he felt he made a mistake with his initial tweaks, to which he replied: "If you've asked me, and that's now three times, then yes, maybe. 

    "We had to change things because, after an hour, the team was a bit tired. Sometimes we have to change things. In the end, you try to find things to change the dynamic." 

    While Vinicius' late equaliser likely prevented Madrid from suffering a massive psychological blow ahead of a potentially pivotal derby clash with Atletico Madrid at the weekend, in the grand scheme of the title race it did little to improve their standing. 

    Either way, the pressure on Madrid going into the weekend is greater than if they had beaten La Real, as they stay five points behind the leaders having played a game more, yet Zidane insists Monday's result changes nothing. 

    "We have to remain calm," Zidane added. "We had a good game and we had three or four chances [to score]. 

    "Patience, calm and rest. We were up against a team that creates chances against you. We have to carry on. 

    "It doesn't change the way we go into the derby. We have to go there to have a great game." 

  • Dortmund-bound Rose aims to stop Haaland hurting Monchengladbach Dortmund-bound Rose aims to stop Haaland hurting Monchengladbach

    Marco Rose is plotting to stop one of the players he will have at his disposal next season when Borussia Monchengladbach come up against Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal.  

    Rose will be leaving his role as head coach of Monchengladbach at the end of the season to take charge at Dortmund, though still has a chance of signing off with a trophy.  

    With Bayern Munich already knocked out, the quarter-final clash offers a chance for both clubs to move a step closer to silverware. 

    Haaland will be hoping to get one over his future boss in the competition before they join forces, provided, of course, the prolific Norwegian does not depart Signal Iduna Park in the next transfer window.  

    The 20-year-old striker has 27 goals already in the current campaign, including 17 in as many starts in the Bundesliga. Rose, however, hopes Monchengladbach can prevent him adding to that tally on Tuesday.  

    "Of course there are options to stop him," Rose told the media ahead of the last-eight tie. 

    "I don't think you can completely stop him for 90 minutes, but you can look after him and control him in many situations.   

    "He is a forward who is very good at transition. He has a good feeling for deep runs and is a very dynamic player.   

    "He is very clinical in the box and we need to defend him well there. We have to stop him when he starts his runs, but it would be even better to destroy Dortmund's build-up, so we can bring out our strengths on the pitch."

    Dortmund head into the fixture having won three on the spin under caretaker boss Edin Terzic, suggesting they are rounding into form at an ideal time in what has been a see-saw campaign. 

    After Monchengladbach in midweek, BVB have a trip to the Allianz Arena on Saturday to take on league leaders Bayern. 

    Rose will be determined to lead Dortmund to success in 2020-21 but insists there will be no mixed emotions when he comes up against them, making clear his focus right now remains fully on his job at Monchengladbach. 

    "There is nothing to say. It's not a topic at all," he said of the prospect of facing his future employers.  

    "The job here is very demanding and I need all my energy here. I need to make the best out of it together with the boys, that means a cup quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.