Barcelona’s talismanic number 10 Lionel Messi has made a shocking claim that the club has been improved thanks to the former Barcelona star.
The 25-year-old took over the summer transfer window with what has ended up being the most incredible transfer saga in history. With an astronomical fee of €222 million, Neymar finally left Barcelona after four years for the City of Lights and Paris Saint-Germain. However, Barcelona star Lionel Messi believes that losing his former strike partner may have actually helped the Catalan giants.
While many thought the club would suffer the loss of such a massive presence both in the team and the attacking line-up, Barcelona has proved both their fans and critics wrong and are still currently unbeaten in the La Liga and have an 11 point lead over the second-placed Atletico Madrid. However, the club did fail to bring in a world-class replacement, bringing in only Ousmane Dembele who has struggled with injuries so far and Paulinho, who has flourished under Ernesto Valverde.
But despite that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has gone on to say that the Catalan giants unbeaten and lead Madrid by a massive 16 point difference, is much better without the Brazilian star. “Without Neymar, we are more balanced,” said the Argentine. “His departure meant a change in our way of playing, we lost a lot of attacking potential, but it helped in the defensive sense. We are currently very well armed in the midfield; this makes us stronger in defence.”
The January window has been the club’s saving grace, not that they needed one but despite that, the Camp Nou side have brought in the likes of Philippe Coutinho, defender Yerry Mina to replace the departing Javier Mascherano and a future star in 18-year-old Ballou Tabla. This means, that the club has not only strengthened their team but also with Coutinho have brought in a superstar marquee player to replace Neymar.
Lionel Messi on Barcelona: "I have no problem with being rotated, like my other teammates. As for my goals for the year, they're the same as always to win every single trophy and I still don't care about the individual awards." pic.twitter.com/56x2lMZ4gu
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) January 27, 2018
Lionel Messi further added, “Manchester City are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment. The same goes for PSG. However, there’s a lot of football still to play and I don’t rule out Real Madrid yet as they have a lot of quality and experience. Then there’s Bayern Munich, another great team who will fight till the end. But right now, City and PSG are the best.”
Neymar’s eventually departure did leave a massive hole in the Barcelona team-sheet and while the club has tried to fill it with Deulofeu and record-signing Ousmane Dembele, they haven’t managed to do it. However, despite that, the club has done well thanks to Lionel Messi and with Coutinho’s arrival, they do have an elite star to replace Neymar.