Lionel Messi claimed his sixth European Golden Shoe thanks to his 36 LaLiga goals for Spanish champions Barcelona.

Messi clinched the award – handed to the player with the most league goals in any of Europe's top-flight leagues – for the third consecutive year, beating Kylian Mbappe by three following Paris Saint-Germain's defeat Friday.

Mbappe needed to score five goals in PSG's Ligue 1 finale to collect the Golden Shoe, however, the French sensation could only manage one in a 3-1 loss at Reims.

Messi now has two more Golden Shoes than Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who last won the award in 2014-15.

The 31-year-old Messi led Barca to back-to-back LaLiga titles ahead of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid this season.

Messi and Barcelona will face Spanish rivals Valencia in the Copa del Rey final Saturday.

Argentina and Colombia favourites to advance from Group B.

Lionel Messi feels Barcelona are still yet to recover from their crushing Champions League loss to Liverpool.

Ernesto Valverde's side have the chance to complete back-to-back domestic doubles when they face Valencia in Saturday's Copa del Rey final.

LaLiga glory was wrapped up at a canter, meaning their remarkable collapse to a 4-0 thumping at Anfield – having won the first leg of the semi-final 3-0 – threatens to define an otherwise excellent campaign.

Messi was unable to stem the tide as Jurgen Klopp's side ran riot after half-time and, more than two weeks on, the loss still stings.

"The Liverpool game was a really, really hard blow. It was the hardest moment of the year, it was hard to get back up," Messi told a pre-match news conference, where he insisted he and his team-mates should take responsibility for what unfolded on Merseyside.

"I blame the players, not only the coach. I heard a lot of the critics of Valverde but I do not make him guilty for the loss to Liverpool. The coach has done impressive work.

"I blame the squad. We cannot afford games like that any longer."

Messi is guaranteed to collect the European Golden Shoe unless Kylian Mbappe scores four times in Paris Saint-Germain's Friday encounter against Reims on Friday.

But the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is not thinking of such individual awards and the bad taste of what happened against Liverpool still lingers.

"I'm still thinking about the Liverpool loss. I don't really have time to think about the Golden Shoe award," said Messi, who observed the parallels with last season's Champions League quarter-final defeat against Roma - when Barca won the initial game 4-1 - were particularly tough to take.

"I am focused on winning tomorrow and trying to forget the game at Anfield.

"We did a very similar game to in Rome the year before. In the second half we didn't compete and that's something we cannot afford. Liverpool were much, much better than us.

"We played a lamentable game. It can happen one year, but to happen two years in a row [when you] have the chance to be in a Champions League final… it's impermissible.

"The sensation is strange and that's why the team have to focus on trying to get a double. We were hit so hard by Anfield. We were so focused on the Champions League and trying not to repeat the performance from Rome."

Messi rejected the suggestion that such a loss could persuade him to call time on his exceptional Barcelona career – likening such a reaction to the hysteria that accompanies his every setback with Argentina at international level.

"No, no and no. It happens the same with the Argentina national team," he said. "Whichever time we lose, I am wanting to fight on and on and on to win titles. It is the same with Barca.

"I have to apologise for the second half at Liverpool, not because of the result but because of the image we gave."

Messi added: "We have to be focused on trying to win and trying to get the Copa del Rey. If we lose, it is going to be even worse than the way that we are at this moment.

"Apart from the Liverpool game, Barca have made a great year, winning LaLiga and trying to win the Copa del Rey. Apart from that game at Liverpool, we've done a really nice job. We've had a great year if you take out that game."

Barcelona are aiming for a record fifth successive Copa del Rey triumph on Saturday when they face Valencia, with the Catalans' recent dominance in the competition seeing them reach the final sixth times in a row.

If Ernesto Valverde's men complete the feat, they will certainly have done it the hard way, as they have had to get past Real Madrid and Sevilla en route to the final and will now face a Valencia side who finished fourth in LaLiga.

The pressure is on, however. Barca disappointed supporters by failing to reach the Champions League final, despite beating Liverpool 3-0 in the semi-final first leg, and some are calling for Valverde to lose his job.

Winning only LaLiga when a treble looked extremely likely just a few weeks ago could potentially spell doom for the head coach, but the omens are good for Barca, as their previous five finals have shown…

2013-14: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona

Having seen LaLiga and the Champions League move out of reach in the build-up, Barca – and specifically coach Gerardo Martino – needed a victory in the 2013-14 final. Things got off to a bad start when Angel Di Maria opened the scoring after a good move in the 11th minute. Marc Bartra levelled with a powerful second-half header, but Gareth Bale clinched the first piece of silverware of his career with a spectacular late solo winner, consigning Barca to their first trophyless season since 2008, which cost Martino his job.

2014-15: Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona

If 2013-14 was a failure, the following season was the complete opposite. Having already wrapped up the league title, Barca cruised to victory in the Copa, giving club great Xavi the ideal final Camp Nou outing. The magnificent Lionel Messi starred, opening the scoring with a marvellous solo effort, before Neymar rounded off a flowing move for 2-0. Their Argentinian talisman ended Athletic's chances towards the end, with Inaki Williams' goal a mere consolation. Barca then went on to complete a treble with a 3-1 win over Juventus in the Champions League final.

2015-16: Barcelona 2-0 Sevilla (AET)

Fresh from beating Liverpool in the Europa League final, Sevilla were eager to upset another European giant. Barca were not helped by Javier Mascherano's dismissal for hauling down Kevin Gameiro in the first half, but they ended up managing the rest of the regulation 90 minutes fairly well and the numbers were evened up late on when Ever Banega was sent off. Barca simply had too much for Sevilla in extra time, as Jordi Alba and then Neymar got the goals, while Daniel Carrico was shown the game's third red card.

2016-17: Barcelona 3-1 Deportivo Alaves

A first ever Copa final for Alaves promised little given who they were up against. A Theo Hernandez free-kick offered them a measure of hope just after Messi's 30th-minute opener, but Barca ultimately had things wrapped by half-time, with Neymar and Paco Alcacer putting the game beyond Mauricio Pellegrino's men. Having missed out on the league title, Copa success at least meant Barca did not end the campaign empty-handed, with Luis Enrique leaving his post shortly after.

2017-18: Sevilla 0-5 Barcelona

While Barca's Copa tussle with Sevilla in 2016 was a gripping encounter, last season's meeting showed an alarming gulf. Andres Iniesta starred in what proved to be his last final for the club, scoring the fourth goal, but victory was effectively secured by half-time given a Luis Suarez double and a solitary Messi effort had them 3-0 up at the interval. Philippe Coutinho's penalty finished things off, as Barca went on to seal a domestic double, while Sevilla sacked Montella a week later.

Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero have been included in Argentina's squad for the 2019 Copa America, but Mauro Icardi misses out after a difficult few months at Inter.

Icardi has failed to impress this year at club level, with a combination of contractual issues and injuries seeing him left out of the team and stripped of the captaincy.

He scored for only the second time in 2019 during Inter's 4-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday, but both of those goals have come from the penalty spot and he did little to catch the eye in general.

Manchester City star Aguero is in the squad, however, returning to the selection for the first time since Argentina's disappointing World Cup campaign, when he scored two goals in four games.

Aguero has enjoyed another strong season at club level and will be confident of transferring that form to the Copa, where he will be joined with City team-mate Nicolas Otamendi.

Dybala also makes the cut despite an underwhelming campaign with Juventus, in which he seemed to suffer from the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi is expected to captain the team as one of the senior stars, while Matias Suarez – also 31 years of age – is a surprise inclusion among the strikers, with the River Plate man having won his only two senior caps this year.

There is also a shock in defence, with Milton Casco chosen ahead of Gabriel Mercado, a mainstay over the past few years.

Manchester United pair Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo also miss out.

Argentina will play Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar in the group stage of the tournament in Brazil.

 

Argentina squad in full:

Franco Armani (River Plate), Agustin Marchesin (Club America), Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors); Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Renzo Saravia (Racing Club), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Milton Casco (River Plate), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City); Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Exequiel Palacio (River Plate), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis); Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Matias Suarez (River Plate), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (Inter).

Lionel Messi equalled Telmo Zarra's record of six Pichichi awards after the Barcelona star finished the 2018-19 season as the leading scorer in LaLiga.

The Argentinian has had a sensational campaign for Barca in the league, scoring 36 times in 34 appearances.

His form has been the main catalyst for Barca's title surge, with the Catalans finishing the season 11 points clear of nearest rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.

Messi has rarely looked in danger of being caught, with team-mate Luis Suarez and Real Madrid's Karim Benzema the closest to him with 21 apiece.

It is the sixth time in his career Messi has taken home the Pichichi trophy as LaLiga's top scorer in a single season, moving him level with Athletic Bilbao great Zarra.

Among Messi's 36 goals were three hat-tricks – against Real Betis, Sevilla and Levante – while he rounded out the campaign with a brace in the 2-2 draw with Eibar.

He could yet add the European Golden Shoe too, with Messi four goals clear of Kylian Mbappe, who has one league game left to play this season with Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak finished a fourth successive season as the goalkeeper with the fewest goals conceded - just 27 in 37 appearances.

 

Lionel Messi opened up a four-goal lead over Kylian Mbappe in the race for the Golden Shoe as a brace in a 2-2 draw with Eibar lifted the Barcelona star on to 36 LaLiga goals.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe – who has one league match still to play – scored a double against Dijon on Saturday to close in on Messi, who provided a fine response as Barca's successful LaLiga campaign drew to a close on Sunday.

Barca-owned Marc Cucurella scored against his parent club and although a Messi double had Eibar trailing by the 32nd minute, a glorious Pablo de Blasis strike saw Jasper Cillessen punished for the second time, making it 2-2 just before half-time.

Although both sides crafted chances, the second half was significantly less dramatic as proceedings petered out, bringing the 2018-19 LaLiga season to an end.

An end-to-end start benefitted Eibar and they took the lead 20 minutes in, Cucurella drilling at Cillessen and the ball squirming underneath the Dutchman.

Messi turned things around just past the half-hour mark, though, equalising with a clinical finish into the bottom-right corner after racing on to Arturo Vidal's pass.

He then produced a delicate chipped finish a minute later after breaking Eibar's offside trap and running through on goal.

But Eibar went into the break level thanks to De Blasis' spectacular effort, pouncing on Cillessen's poor headed clearance and catching him out of his goal with a gorgeous long-range volley.

The hosts looked the more threatening throughout the second period, first going close in the 52nd minute when Sergi Enrich was denied by Cillessen.

Cucurella then wasted a glorious chance nine minutes from time when he blasted over from 10 yards, meaning Eibar had to accept a draw.

 

What does it mean? Messi signs off in expected fashion

Messi has again enjoyed a stunning season. With 36 goals, there can be no doubt the Argentinian has been the main catalyst behind their success and he will likely claim the Golden Shoe award, unless Mbappe enjoys a remarkable final outing. 

Cucurella shows his worth to Barca

The young full-back – who has also played on the wing – has enjoyed a strong season on loan from Barca. Although he needed a helping hand from Cillessen, he got a deserved goal and was a constant energetic nuisance on the left. He will surely be of use to Ernesto Valverde next term.

Cillessen culpable

With Marc-Andre ter Stegen injured, Cillessen continued to deputise in goal. He has generally been solid in recent weeks, but at Ipurua he was at fault for both goals conceded by the champions.

What's next?

Barca still have one last game to play this season, as they prepare to face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final next Saturday.

Eibar's campaign is now over, and they will turn their attention to the transfer market. They will hope to keep Cucurella for at least another year, though Barca are expected to recall him.

Kylian Mbappe moved two behind Lionel Messi in the race for the Golden Shoe as his brace helped Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-0 victory over Dijon.

World Cup winner Mbappe, back from a three-match ban following his red card in the Coupe de France final, scored in either half to move onto 32 goals for the season, two adrift of Barcelona striker Messi's haul of 34 in LaLiga, ahead of their respective teams' final fixtures.

PSG passed the 90-point barrier in their final home fixture of the campaign, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani both netting inside the opening four minutes.

Mbappe then struck either side of the interval to become the first Frenchman to score 32 league goals in a Ligue 1 season since Philippe Gondet did so for Nantes in 1965-66.

PSG's form since being confirmed as champions had been patchy, and their win over Angers last time out was just their second in seven Ligue 1 games, but their rapid start ensured they could coast to three points at the Parc des Princes.

Di Maria's third-minute effort deflected off Wesley Lautoa to leave Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson stranded as the ball hit the net.

The goalscorer then turned provider a minute later, crossing the ball to the back post for Cavani to head in from close range.

Teenager Loic Mbe Soh was denied a first senior goal by the post when he nodded Thomas Meunier's cross against the woodwork before Mbappe stabbed in his first from virtually on the line after Cavani had almost turned in Layvin Kurzawa's cross.

Nine minutes after half-time, Mbappe displayed his ruthless streak again, racing onto Leandro Paredes' throughball and dinking over Runarsson to make it 4-0.

On an otherwise flawless night, the 20-year-old then squandered a chance to score his hat-trick, heading wide from a corner when unmarked before Runarsson denied him again late on.

 

Ernesto Valverde described Antoine Griezmann as "a great player" but was unable to confirm whether he would be joining Barcelona, despite Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain distancing themselves from the World Cup-winning forward.

Griezmann announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid in a video posted on his social media accounts on Tuesday, thanking the club's supporters for "five incredible years".

He has been linked with a transfer to Camp Nou for over a year, opting to sign a new five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano before the start of the 2018-19 season rather than pursue a move at that time.

With the 28-year-old set to switch allegiances, and both City's Pep Guardiola and PSG's Thomas Tuchel saying they would not be signing him, Valverde was asked whether he would be looking to add Griezmann to his squad for next season.

"We always say the same – he's a player at a different club," Valverde told a news conference.

"Who knows? He's a great player, I've never denied that. Are you going to ask every coach in football if they want him? Is that your plan?"

When asked what role Griezmann might play in his Blaugrana team, Valverde responded: "If he came you would see.

"We're talking about an assumption, a player who might come, who could be here. I'm not going to talk about his position."

Barcelona clinched the LaLiga title with three games to spare and their clash with Eibar on Sunday is of relatively low significance to both sides.

But Valverde insisted he will name a strong side to ensure his players' match fitness does not wane ahead of the Copa del Rey final against Valencia six days later and deflected further questions about transfer targets, preferring to focus on his aim of winning the double.

Asked if he had new players in his sights, he replied: "I don't know, that's an internal club matter. There are other parties involved who might have an opinion.

"The club's idea is to make the best team we can, taking into account our strengths and weaknesses. Right now we've got a final to think about. We could win the double this year.

"It has been an extraordinary season – things were broken a lot by the way we went out of the Champions League, but we won the Super Cup, the league with three games in hand. We've got the cup final to come."

He added a word of reassurance over Lionel Messi, who was short of his best in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Getafe five days after their Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool, who overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit on a dramatic night at Anfield.

"When you lose a game the way we did [in Liverpool] that does hit you very hard," admitted Valverde.

"Leo [Messi] is fine, better every day. The days after going out of the Champions League you find it difficult – they are not a team that is used to losing.

"But they are looking forward to the cup final, Leo as much as anyone else."

Antoine Griezmann looks set to be at the heart of 2019's major transfer saga, having announced his intention to leave Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann has been Atletico's leading light since he joined from Real Sociedad five years ago, but he confirmed on Tuesday he will leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, with Barcelona reportedly his preferred destination.

Atletico can reflect on a period of success for the club with Griezmann playing a key role, the France forward firing them to Europa League glory last year before winning the World Cup with his country.

Replacing Griezmann will prove a major challenge for Diego Simeone as the striker has scored 133 of their 463 goals in all competitions since 2014-15, 28.7 per cent of the club's total.

But how does that figure compare to some of the other elite strikers of European football in recent seasons?

 

CRISTIANO RONALDO

There was European disappointment for Cristiano Ronaldo this season, but he helped Juventus cruise to another Serie A title and contributed 28 of the 86 goals they scored in all competitions - 32.6 per cent

That figure is remarkably similar to his record at Real Madrid between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 seasons, where he was responsible for 450 of their 1,378 goals - 32.7 per cent - contributing to a historic run of three consecutive Champions League crowns.


LIONEL MESSI

Griezmann could line up with Lionel Messi at Camp Nou next term, with the Argentina attacker on track to win the European Golden Shoe for a record sixth time.

Messi, now captain at Barca, has scored 27.9 per cent of his team's goals since breaking into the team as a teenager in October 2004.

LUIS SUAREZ

Griezmann is widely expected to be a successor to Luis Suarez, with the Uruguay international aged 32 and seemingly coming towards the end of his career.

Suarez has scored 177 of 767 Barcelona's goals in all competitions - 23.1 per cent - since he joined the club from Liverpool in 2014.


ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Bayern Munich look set to clinch another Bundesliga title, their success continuing to be built around the reliable goalscoring of Robert Lewandowski.

Poland international Lewandowski joined Bayern in July 2014 and has since scored 189 goals in all competitions for the club, 29.7 per cent of their total in that time.


HARRY KANE

Pep Guardiola once famously described Tottenham as 'the Harry Kane team' and the Opta numbers bear out his assessment to a degree.

England captain Kane has scored 30.6 per cent of Spurs' 519 goals in all competitions since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, winning two Premier League Golden Boots in the process.


SERGIO AGUERO

Perhaps surprisingly, Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero has the joint-lowest percentage for his club among the strikers we examined.

Since joining City ahead of the 2011-12 season he has scored 231 of their 1,019 goals in all competitions for a comparatively low 22.7 per cent. However, that still marks a hugely significant contribution to City's ongoing success. 



EDINSON CAVANI

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Edinson Cavani has had an injury-hit campaign for the Ligue 1 champions.

Since 2013-14, Suarez's international team-mate Cavani has scored 192 of PSG’s 847 goals in all competitions - 22.7 per cent - although he did play wide when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the club.

Antoine Griezmann announced his intention to leave Atletico Madrid on Tuesday after five years at the club, surprising few who had seen reports of Barcelona's interest resurface in recent weeks.

It comes less than 12 months after the Frenchman committed his future in Atletico in a documentary, rebuffing Barca and signing a new five-year contract at the time.

But with Atletico's season fading away and Barca going for a domestic double, Griezmann and his club published a video to Twitter in which the forward confirmed he is seeking a move.

Griezmann's contract has a €120million release clause in it, meaning Atletico will expect to be heavily compensated should a transfer go through, and Barca are firm favourites to bring him in following their long-held admiration.

Although Barca could yet add the Copa del Rey to their LaLiga title, their Champions League quarter-final exit was proof of a need for Ernesto Valverde's side to be improved.

Should Barca finally get their man, there will be several stars already at the club who will take particular interest in the arrival…

 

Philippe Coutinho

Despite a promising start, it's fair to say Coutinho's time at Camp Nou has not gone to plan since joining from Liverpool for a reported €160m in January 2018. This season the Brazilian has failed to nail down a regular spot in midfield or attack, often filling in either role with minimal success and he is a frequent target for jeers. If Barca see Coutinho as more of a forward, there may not be space for him should Griezmann arrive, with first-team opportunities likely to be even trickier to come by. Linked with a move, the former Liverpool star could be heading back to England.

Ousmane Dembele

Like Coutinho, Dembele was brought in as part of the post-Neymar splurge. While the winger is undoubtedly talented and has shown flashes of his potential, his Barca career has been interrupted by injuries and reports of immaturity. Few can argue Griezmann is not a model professional. Perhaps, as an international team-mate and fellow World Cup-winner, Griezmann might just be the influence Dembele needs to find his best.

Luis Suarez

In the opening months of the season Suarez showed signs of decline, as he endured a couple of uncharacteristic droughts. Thankfully for Barca he recovered and has managed to score 21 goals in LaLiga, though his form in the Champions League remains a concern, the Uruguayan netting just five times in his past 29 games in the competition.

While there's no suggestion Griezmann is set to replace Suarez, the fact the Frenchman could fill in for him and allow him more rests can only be a good thing, particularly with the former Ajax star now 32 years old. However, for the two to co-exist, they may need to bury the hatchet, with Suarez unimpressed by Griezmann's efforts to show respect to Uruguay after his goal against them for France at the World Cup.

Lionel Messi

The main man, the superstar and the one who makes everything tick. None of that will change if Griezmann arrives. Messi has been inspirational again this season, scoring 34 times in 33 LaLiga games. He has been used a little more sparingly and Griezmann's potential arrival could allow him more rest, but the Argentine's status as top dog will certainly remain either way. Nevertheless, another superstar forward might just alleviate some of the goal-scoring burden.

Malcom

A transfer that appeared to promise much has yielded little. Brazilian winger Malcom is almost certain to leave Barca at the end of the season, his departure something that will surely be hastened if a deal for Griezmann is struck. A gifted player that Barca pipped Roma to at the last minute in July 2018, it's been pretty clear from the outset that he doesn't have Valverde's faith. Sevilla, who look set for a close-season rebuild, are rumoured to be interested, though sporting director Monchi – in charge at Roma when Malcom rejected them – might not be willing to offer him a lifeline.

Sergio Aguero has publicly backed Lionel Messi's bid to regain the Ballon d'Or and denied he overlooked his close friend's claim to win the coveted award.

Eyebrows were raised when Manchester City striker Aguero, addressing a question in front of gathered media, indicated the next Ballon d'Or winner has "to be in the Champions League [final]".

Messi, a five-time recipient, agonisingly fell one step short of Europe's showpiece stage as Barcelona gave up a three-goal advantage in losing 4-3 on aggregate to Liverpool in the semi-finals.

The 31-year-old controversially finished fifth in the voting for the Ballon d'Or last year and Aguero took to social media to further explain whether he thinks his Argentina team-mate deserves the honour in 2019.

"I don't enjoy having to clarify my statements – but when I'm quoted for things I haven't said, it must be done," Aguero said in a Twitter post.

"I'll spell it out then. No one other than Messi will be my pick for the Ballon d'Or as long as he keeps on playing – particularly if he plays like he did this season.

"The question put forward to me was whether I should win the award myself this year.

"My reply was that I should have reached the [Champions League] final if I wished to deserve it. Couldn't be clearer, and there shouldn't have been room for misinterpretation."

Messi and Aguero have both celebrated domestic success this season, with Barcelona retaining their LaLiga crown and City finishing a point above Liverpool in the Premier League.

Ernesto Valverde admitted Barcelona's defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League left a bad taste in Lionel Messi's mouth, but he felt the Blaugrana's 2-0 win over Getafe on Sunday helped his players "get rid of the ghosts in our heads".

Arturo Vidal scored in the first half and Messi had a hand in Barcelona's second goal as Mauro Arambarri put through his own net in the 89th minute to extend the champions' lead at the top of LaLiga with one game left to play this season.

Valverde admitted that bouncing back from a 4-0 defeat at Anfield, which resulted in a 4-3 aggregate semi-final defeat to Liverpool, would take time but backed his players to return to form in time for the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on May 25.

"For us, a victory was essential to get rid of the ghosts in our heads," Valverde told reporters after the win over Getafe.

"Everyone will bounce back, although at the beginning it's hard. We have the Copa del Rey final in mind.

"Messi is making an effort to overcome the bad taste in his mouth. We all had high hopes to be in the Champions League final and we have to move forward."

Valverde substituted Philippe Coutinho 20 minutes from time during one of his better recent performances for the club, and it was later revealed the midfielder would likely be out for up to 10 days with a hamstring injury.

The Brazil international was subjected to whistles from Barcelona supporters following his poor display in midweek, but Valverde said the receptions he has received at Camp Nou have not all been negative.

"I did not speak with Coutinho," said Valverde.

"They have whistled him, but they have also have applauded him. The best thing is to help the players."

Barcelona responded to their shock midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool with a lethargic 2-0 win over Getafe at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The LaLiga champions, who were knocked out at Anfield after letting slip a three-goal advantage from the first leg, seemed to still be struggling in the aftermath against opponents aiming for a top-four finish.

Arturo Vidal capitalised on one of the few opportunities Barca carved out in a game played at a leisurely pace, with Ernesto Valverde's men in no mood to over-exert themselves having wrapped up the title two weeks earlier.

Lionel Messi forced an own goal by Djene Dakonam in the closing minutes to seal a result that allowed Valencia, who won at home against Deportivo Alaves, to leapfrog Getafe in the table.

Ronaldo said when Barcelona win it is because of Lionel Messi but when the Spanish giants lose it is down to Ernesto Valverde and Philippe Coutinho as he had a dig at the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Messi and Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday, the LaLiga holders surrendering a 3-0 first-leg advantage in a stunning 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Barca head coach Valverde was heavily scrutinised after the club's treble hopes ended, while attacker Coutinho was also the target of criticism.

Brazilian great Ronaldo – who played for both Barca and Real Madrid – believes the other players are deserving of more respect in the shadow of superstar Messi.

"Barcelona have a great team, and they have the best player in the world in Messi," Ronaldo said.

"The other day I heard that when they lose, it's because of Valverde, Coutinho... but not Messi.

"And when they win, Barcelona win because of Messi. It's a tremendous lack of respect to all the players and the coaching staff."

Reflecting on the match, Ronaldo added: "When a team are a lot more motivated, with an intensity that is noticeably greater than that of their opponents, [the comeback] can happen.

"Liverpool's intensity was not a surprise for Barcelona, but they lacked a bit of luck.

"The first leg was a great match by Barcelona, with an exceptional performance by Messi, but in the return fixture, Liverpool overwhelmed them with intensity, desire and a clinical nature."

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