There is absolutely no doubt over Lionel Messi’s footballing ability – there never was. The Argentine is capable of doing things on a football field that nobody had seen before, or even imagined. He has dominated the world of football, without fail, for a decade and a half, and it looks like he is slowly, but surely coming into his role as a captain.
As Barcelona hosted league leaders Real Sociedad at Camp Nou, there were a lot of young names in the lineup including Oscar Mingueza, Ronald Araujo, Sergino Dest, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, and in the second half Carles Aleña and Fransisco Trincao.
Captain Messi.pic.twitter.com/lbxUd2L2ji— barca vids (@barcavids_) December 16, 2020
This unit, while boasting of incredible energy, needed a leader. Jordi Alba, Antoine Griezmann, Sergio Busquets, and Martin Braithwaite, while older, are a far cry from someone who can lead the group. This is where Messi came in, and rightly so, given he holds the weight of the captain’s armband.
This game showed Messi at his vocal peak, as he continued to give instructions to his teammates throughout the game. He was even seen motivating the likes of Griezmann, Pedri, and Braithwaite, all of whom missed high-scoring chances.
Barcelona eventually won 2-1 in a game of two halves, securing a crucial three points in the La Liga. Messi was at the helm of this win, creating two chances, and winning more tackles than anyone on the pitch – three.
Koeman’s press conference ahead of Sevilla clash ends prematurely due to a nosebleed
As Barcelona gear-up to take on Sevilla in gameweek 25 of La Liga, Ronald Koeman sat down to address the media as part of his pre-game press conference. However, his presser was interrupted, and consequently ended prematurely due to a nosebleed the Dutchman suffered while speaking. This is the second time this is happening this season, with the first incident occurring before the Athletic Bilbao game last month. It comes possibly as a result of the blood thinners he takes after suffering from heart problems last year, as has been reported by Javi Miguel.
❗Koeman's press conference came to an end after a nosebleed. This is the second time it's happened this season – the first being in the press conference before the game against Bilbao on January 30. We hope the coach is doing fine.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 26, 2021
Before the presser was halted, Koeman spoke about how the two consecutive games against Sevilla are different from one another, saying “There are two different games. Tomorrow we play for La Liga, and Wednesday for the Copa del Rey. We have to win both games and we hope to continue our unbeaten streak in the league tomorrow.”
As part of merry news, Ronald Araujo has entered the squad list for the first time in five games after suffering an ankle injury against Real Betis. Koeman addressed his inclusion in the presser, saying, “Araújo has entered the list and everyone who enters the list has options to play. We’ll decide our XI tomorrow.”
Koeman clearly holds the young defender in high praise, and complimented him in today’s presser as well, saying, “Araújo has had a very good season so far. He’s young, but he has learned and shown a lot. He has a great physique level, he’s strong and fast, and he brings us many things defensively.”
The topic surrounding Barcelona’s lack of leadership came up yet again, despite there being several veteran players in the side. Koeman singled out Lionel Messi again, while calling for contribution from others: “Veteran players have tried to take control, but they can’t do it alone either. Messi has 17-18 goals, the same as everyone else put together. Responsibility must be shared.”
“I know that being a Barça coach there is always a lot of pressure. If you don’t win, it’s the manager’s mistake. I don’t know what could happen in the future, there is time to talk about that, but I’m optimistic,” Koeman said in regards to how he feels about his future as a Barcelona coach with the elections nearby.
The last thing Koeman talked about was voting in the elections before rushing out of the room. He said, “The elections? I will not vote because I think I don’t have to vote. I have to wait, and the socios will decide.”