WHO WOULD REST MESSI?
Its been a good start to the season for Lionel Messi, it’s sill early days but the Barcelona talisman has scored 11 goals in 7 league matches.A record only bettered across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues by Falcao,who has 12 goals although the Columbian forward has played a game more than him; the blessed Argentine has more than enough to offer and can once again be expected to compete for the pichichi trophy.
Ronaldo his direct rival has scored far less, this is due to a 5 match ban he was given in the Super Copa de Espana for a reckless behaviour, a stint the Real Madrid attacker is yet to recover from.
Barcelona are amongst the best teams in the world and it is evident as they are currently on top of the La Liga table — of course this is due to the effortless brilliance of their superstar and some suprising display of the underrated Brazilian signing Paulinho.
Lionel Messi has been very important to the team contributing 13 goals in both the UCL and La Liga this term.
As expected, he has featured in every Barcelona fixture this season, an ever present figure in any competition lineup for the Catalan side, but maybe this could be very detrimental to the team sooner or later.
When Messi was manmarked by Sporting CP in the second fixture of the UCL group stage match, Barcelona did not score but were able to clinch a not-so-deserved 3 points from a measly but costly mistake of the Portuguese outfit. This could mean that if Messi is somewhat out of the picture, the Catalan outfit could struggle this term in racking in goals.
That has passed and just recently Messi was shouldered with the herculean responsibility of carrying his national team to the Russia 2018 world cup. The Albiceleste suffered a draining qualifying campaign, almost robbing off the talisman a spot in the global showpiece. They had suprisingly dropped points against perceived weaker opponents like Ecador and Peru.
‘La Pulga’ as he is fondly called, stepped in as a world class player should and graciously carried his team with a hat trick, albeit from a goal down, this was his 44th career hat trick a feat only surpassed by his bitter rival Ronaldo who now has 48. This world class performance came against Ecuador and it was enough evidence to show that a very fit and composed Messi is key to unlocking deadlock situations.
Now the international break is over and he is expected to shine for the Blaugrauna once again, he will of course prove his worth, but his team faces a very familiar and stubborn opponent, Atletico Madrid. The southern capital side hosts them for the very first time in the new stadium Wanda Metropilano and it promises to be a spectacular outing.
Atleti have been quite troublesome when facing the Catalan outfit in recent years The southern capital side were responsible for knocking them out in the semis of the UCL in 2015/2016, and both teams have shared the spoils in their last two meetings. The Barcelona faithful will be hoping their Messi(a)h save them once again, they will also want him to replicate such form in the UEFA Champions league match against Greek Champions, Olympiacos
On paper Olympiacos may be considered the weaker opponents, but we have already witnessed some early unpredictable defeats in the UCL. Bayern Munichs’ confidence was siezed by PSG in a 3–0 defeat, Atletico also would have felt they were invincible against Chelsea but Bathsuayi had other plans. Barcelona could drop points in the group stage and this could affect the position they finish in at the end of the group stage. Which could also determine their opponent in the round of 16 knock out stage, and I am very sure they want to finish on top once again this year.
Will Erneste Valverde and millions of fans want Messi to rest?, Will he suffer the same dip in form he suffered in the 2015/2016 after when he went for the continental competition in USA 2016?. We know what Messi is capable of and can handle such cluster of fixtures when he’s expected to but what happens when they face lesser opponents like Malaga?, could Barcelona be heading for an early upset if their star man is not in his best?. Malaga have had a very difficult season but this is football and anything is possible. This upsets are bound to happen at any point in time in the league but a fully fit Messi will always be more than a threat and could contribute to preventing any unnecessary upset. It is important to know that although he possesses otherworldly skills and talents, he is still human and he needs to be rested as the season is still in its early stages. Barcelona will not want to be without their star man due to injuries, neither will they want him to lose his eccentric form later in the season, so it’s important he watches his team from the bench for at least a match. He is a professional and will always want to play but it is the duty of his manager to make him see otherwise. However, it is difficult to want to rest such a player who is constantly and consistently decisive for the team. His importance could not be overstated, and as such may be a reasonable risk any Coach may take in order to favor his team. He may not need to be rested after all.