It’s not easy being a captain of a sinking ship. Lionel Messi has never been regarded as a true leader by most of the pundits, analysts and fans outside of Barcelona’s own fanbase and unfortunately for the Argentine, despite evidence of the opposite, yesterday night’s case won’t do him any good.
Leo was sent off at the very end of the Supercup final game against Athletic Club, the first red card in his entire illustrious Barcelona career, and had to watch the Lions finish the job from the dressing room. However, as true captains and greats do, Messi recognised his mistake right away.
According to a report from Cuatro, Leo apologised to his team following that tough defeat and admitted he did something rash and entirely out of character.
What’s done is done, however, and now we can only wait for the committee’s final verdict on the Argentine’s punishment, apparently to be handed in tomorrow. Barcelona are working hard to reduce the suspension if it happens to be longer than two games but we still don’t know how successful they’ll be in the end.
One thing is for sure, though, and that’s the fact that Messi will inevitably miss a certain number of upcoming matches for the Catalans. His frustration has been growing throughout the game and finally, around the 120th minute, he could take it no longer.
It goes without saying that this is no excuse, especially not for a player of his level and experience, and the apology is a good start for Leo.
But it’s also the easier part. All the heavy lifting remains to be done as Barcelona attempt to claw out of the gutters and back into the light in the upcoming months of 2020/21.
Papers: Barcelona are still very much in the title race
It was not often this season that Barcelona could feel hopeful and optimistic. After some rocky displays across all competitions, Ronald Koeman’s troops were left with little to compete for. But now, especially after that exhibition against Sevilla, it feels like the Catalans are back in the fight.
Mundo Deportivo say they are indeed very much alive in the race for both the Cup and the league trophies.
Of course, Atletico Madrid are still ahead in La Liga and there is a comeback to be mounted in the Copa del Rey but it’s possible. If Barcelona could beat Sevilla 2-0 in the league and away from home, they can surely do it in the Cup at the Camp Nou once more.
That would be enough to bring the result back to even playing grounds. As for La Liga, beating some of the top teams will be key and if Sevilla have fallen, so can the others.
SPORT fully agree with that sentiment. They even claim Barcelona have overcome the Paris Saint-Germain disappointment and are ready to fight back.
Now, the team and the coach seem to be on the same page and motivated to keep pushing for titles this season. The first big step will be overturning the deficit against Sevilla but they now think that’s very possible.
The players themselves are also very engaged and want to give their all in the league as well. Atletico Madrid are still ahead but there is time to make up the lost ground.