Watch the video of Lionel Messi encouraging his teammates during the win against Lyon.
Lionel Messi is one of the best players to have embraced the game of football. The Argentine International’s quality on the pitch can never be questioned, but his leadership qualities have often been brought into scrutiny.
The Barcelona forward has always been called for the capability to carry the whole squad by scoring in important occasions, but he is not vocal according to few people including Diego Maradona.
His fellow compatriot accused Messi and said that he would go 20 times for the toilet before the game when he was asked to stand up for the team.
“Messi’s a great player, but he’s not a leader,” Maradona said to La Ultima Palabra Mexico on Fox Sports.
“Before talking to the Coach and players, he’ll play on the PlayStation. Then, on the field, he wants to be the leader. He’s the best in the world with Cristiano [Ronaldo].
“For me, it’s difficult to say it but it’s useless to make a leader out of a man who goes to the bathroom 20 times before a game.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 14, 2019
While Messi might be very tough to handle and be a quiet player on the pitch, he demonstrated his leadership qualities on the pitch during the game against Lyon in the Champions League Round of 16 clash at Nou Camp.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had four-goal involvements as they ran over Bruno Genesio’s Olympique Lyon 5-1 on Wednesday night and to set up a showdown against Manchester United in the last eight of the competition.
There is a clip which has been doing rounds on Twitter which totally portrays Lionel Messi’s character on the pitch. The whole stadium was silent when Lucas Tousart pulled one back for the visitors in the second half.
LIONEL MESSI TO HIS TEAMMATES IN SECOND HALF
Watch the video here.
It’s been beautiful to watch this part of his progression. Assuming leadership responsibilities. Messi wasn’t a great leader. And I still don’t think he’s a ‘great’ leader. Maybe a good leader. Maybe an okay leader. But he’s made a great effort to be one. Let’s see how he does. https://t.co/3KH3UR3rEI
— Arshaq. (@MDSArshaq) March 15, 2019
Messi calling and telling what to do to each and every player in the pitch after Lyon scored a goal to make it 2-1.
Some people say that “he is not a leader.” pic.twitter.com/XnXfXjV0jg
— Barca Times Tape (@Barca_Tape) March 15, 2019
The 30-year-old was seen to be encouraging his teammates and pointed out the players to step up their game. He did not shout or yell but he advised the players to do the needful to beat them comfortably.
Lyon were creating a handful of chances, but they were not able to take it. However, the Blaugrana put the game beyond their eyesight when Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, and Ousmane Dembele scored within a space of five minutes to qualify for the next round.
In the post-match press conference Lyon manager Bruno Genesio admitted that Lionel Messi was unstoppable and added that the scoreline was a harsh reflection of the game.
“A lot of things depended on him and when he plays like that he’s unstoppable,”
“When he’s motivated he’s a genius. He’s one of the best of all time. Like Cristiano Ronaldo did yesterday [Tuesday], he has led his team to victory.” said Genesio.
“We’re not satisfied after losing 5-1 and being eliminated. We showed for an hour that we can compete with this team. We lifted our heads despite the goal and, in my opinion, the result is excessive.”
Lyon captain Nabil Fekir with an accurate description of what it’s like to face Lionel Messi 🔥 pic.twitter.com/jaOhfTy0h7
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 14, 2019
Lyon Skipper Nabil Fekir was quick to point out the flawless display of Lionel Messi against the French outfit.
“It’s not that he played badly. But when you suffer as much as we did it’s hard to stand out in attack. You can’t find players between the lines. He was a bit better in the second half, as the team was.”
“We played a good game but history’s best player made it impossible for us. When he’s not scoring he’s assisting. When he’s not assisting he’s play-making. It was impossible. He is impossible.” added Fekir.
Barcelona will be facing Manchester United at Nou Camp before flying to Old Trafford for the second leg. Ernesto Valverde’s side currently half a seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid in the La Liga table and are the favorites to lift the prestigious trophy this campaign.