Madrid, Nov 5: FC Barcelona will be hoping to see the best of Lionel Messi when they entertain AC Milan at the Camp Nou Stadium Wednesday night, while their Champions League rivals will be hoping the Argentine’s poor run of recent form continues.
Messi himself admitted that physically he was still not at his best after another lackluster display in Barca’s 1-0 win over Espanyol Friday night saw him reach four games without scoring for the first time since 2011, reports Xinhua.
In a news article appearing on Weibo social network site, Messi confessed that physically he was “still not 100 percent,” but added that with more games he hoped to play himself back into form.
The club believes that it is a question of confidence with the striker after a period in which he has suffered a series of hamstring problems which have clearly affected him. At the same time it is clear that only by playing games will that confidence return and once Messi hits the back of the net again, they expect that confidence to come flooding back.
Fortunately for Barcelona, there is not so much dependence on Messi’s goals this season as Alexis Sanchez and Neymar have both shown in recent matches.
After struggling last season, Alexis has now scored seven goals in the BBVA Primera Liga, while Neymar’s arrival from Brazil has been a total success even if his contribution has come more in the form of assists rather than in scoring goals himself.
One problem of their arrival has been that Messi has played recent games out on the right, when he is probably more effective in a central role, but coach Tata Martino continues to insist he is delighted by the striker’s performances.
Milan, meanwhile, are in crisis after their worst start to the season in over 30 years and a 0-2 home defeat to Fiorentina at the weekend has piled the pressure on coach Massimiliano Allegri, who could well lose his job if his side lose heavily in the Camp Nou.
Allegri will be able to take heart from Milan’s tough display against Barca in the San Siro a fortnight ago, but the visit to Barcelona will be a test of nerve and also of his players’ resolve to roll up their sleeves and battle it out for their coach in match that could tell us a lot about the future of both teams.