Ronald Koeman has admitted that Lionel Messi’s absence creates a clear shortage at Barcelona, after his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
The deadlock at the San Mames marked the first time Barcelona have dropped a point in La Liga this season, and notably they struggled to earn a point after letting their opponents open the scoring first.
And after the match, although his team was temporarily leading the table, coach Ronald Koeman was not afraid to express his disappointment and nostalgia over Messi’s departure.
The Barca strategist said: “I don’t want to talk about the same things all the time, but we’re talking about the best player in the world. Our opponents would be more scared if Messi was here.”
“For us, if you pass the ball to Leo, usually he won’t lose the ball. You say Messi is not here, we know that but nothing can be changed.”.
Not only did Barcelona lose points, their performance was also inferior to Athletic Bilbao, finishing only half of the opponent. Current factors have not been able to ease Messi’s nostalgia.
Martin Braithwaite, who scored twice in the opening round, failed to replicate that form at San Mames. Antoine Griezmann, who is expected and himself is very confident to fill the void left by Messi, is no better. The 2018 World Cup winner did not have a shot on target for 90 minutes.
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