Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

'Messi works best with coaches who tell him 'no'' | How to manage the best in the world

BBC Spanish Football correspondent Andy West joined Monday's Football Show on Off The Ball to tal...

'Messi works best with coaches...

'Messi works best with coaches who tell him 'no'' | How to manage the best in the world

BBC Spanish Football correspondent Andy West joined Monday's Football Show on Off The Ball to talk about the current situation at Barcelona and Leo Messi.

There is an inquest into why the Catalans capitulated against Bayern Munich on Friday, one that goes much further than simply sacking Quique Setien - which they did on Monday.

BBC Football's Spanish correspondent Andy West joined us to let us into the role of Leo Messi on such a backdrop.

"Messi is the most powerful figure at the club both on and off the pitch, more so than Bartomeu. Of course, when you have a player like Messi you want to keep him happy," said West.

"You have got to pay him well, you've got to surround him with the people he wants, you've got to try and give him the style of football that he wants, with the coaching staff that he wants.

"Bartomeu has given too much to Messi and the phrase that's well known locally is the 'club des amigos' - or 'the friends club' - that runs the dressing room.

"Messi, Suarez, Pique, Busquets, Jordi Alba have too much power and what Bartomeu has sanctioned over the years is bowing to Messi's wishes at all times."

Messi pandering

Pandering to Messi's whims has been detrimental to the club according to West, who pointed out who the Argentinian has worked best with strong-willed leaders.

"Messi does have to take criticism, he has papered over so many cracks for Barcelona, he's the best player in the world," admitted West. "You keep him he will do so much just by being there.

"When has he been at his very best peak? There were two phases, one was under Pep Guardiola and one was under Luis Enrique. Strong personalities, leaders who told him how he was going to play.

"Guardiola was the one who turned him int a false nine, who took him from that position on the right and said 'I want you in the middle fo the field.' He told Messi where to play."

Another Barcelona legend was responsible for taming the more inflammatory side to Messi.

"A few years later it was Luis Enrique who turned that around because other teams had worked out how to combat the false nine.

"The teammates weren't the same. He was the one that put Messi on the right wing with Suarez through the middle and Neymar on the left that ended up with the treble.

"Luis Enrique, a very strong character. The weaker managers under whom Messi has played haven't got that much out of him because as amazing as he is, he does still need to be part of a team, rather than trying to be the whole team."

The current Barcelona setup is a sad sight says West, comparing the players to children.

"At times it's just been sad to watch. It's almost like a playground where all the kids stand around and wait for the best player to do something.

"Messi feels that he has that responsibility, feels that he has to, everyone else is scared to do anything else other than give the ball to him. It's completely dysfunctional as a team and has been for a long time.

"I feel sorry for Setien, he never had a chance to put his mark on the team, especially with everything that happened.

"Suarez and Dembele injured as soon as he got there, Then the COVID situation, which meant he basically lost the team he was trying to build.

"He was managing not even with one hand behind his back, with a blindfold on. He couldn't even attempt to do the things he wanted to do with the team."

You can listen to Andy and Philippe Auclair on PSG here.

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Barcelona Barcelona FC FC Barcelona Guardiola Leo Messi Luis Enrique Quique Setién Suarez