After the fiasco at the end of last season and a demanding schedule at the start of La Liga, Lionel Messi’s injury might complicate the life of the Blaugrana manager that won’t certainly have a lot of room to manoeuvre in 2019/20.
Months of anguish for Lionel Messi
It has been a long time since the Argentinian star didn’t have so many months of successive agony.
After a traumatic end to the season where he saw “his” Barcelona being eliminated from the Champions League unexpectedly and still lose the final of the Copa del Rey to Valencia,
Messi continued his suffering in the Copa America on a modest participation from the individual point of view that culminated on an elimination against Brazil on the semi-finals.
With that said, and after a necessary vacation period, Leo Messi returned to Barcelona’s trainings and at the first opportunity, he was unlucky once again, picking up an injury and maybe being out for several weeks.
And if the player is certainly disappointed with the way everything has been going for the past couple of months, Barcelona’s manager Ernesto Valverde will also have some reasons to be concerned, because he stayed in charge of the fates of the club, however, with a much smaller margin for error after the meltdown at the final stages of last season.
Intermeshing of the attacking trio delayed
If Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann have already been practicing and setting routines for the new season for a couple of weeks, the same can’t be said about Lionel Messi.
With the Argentinian being absent for a couple more weeks, all of Barça’s preparation is half-hearted since the Argentinian is the one in charge and defining most of the offensive football of the Blaugrana.
From the perspective of the manager, this is far from being the ideal scenario to attack the new season, and the exigence of the schedule of La Liga in the first couple of rounds is also a reason to increase the apprehension of the Spanish manager.
Barcelona kicks off La Liga with an always difficult trip to the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, followed by a reception to the dangerous Real Bétis whom they have beaten in Camp Nou last season.
— FC Barcelona (de 🏡) (@fcbarcelona_br) July 28, 2019
Barça then travels to Osasuna on the 3rd round to then host their “perpetrator” of the Copa del Rey, Valencia.
Basically, this isn’t an easy start to the season which means it would be important to have the team in full strength.
However, that won’t be possible taking into consideration that Messi might miss a couple of those matches or, in case he recovers, present himself
still far from his best form.
The Champions League will continue to be their priority
The board and the Blaugrana fans continue to have the main desire to win the Champions League, competition that has been escaping the Catalan side on the past couple of seasons in unusual ways.
The way the team was knocked out by AS Roma or Liverpool in 2 of the last 3 editions has certainly left a bitter taste on the fans of the clubs, that clearly believe their team has more than enough conditions to do more and better on the European competition.
For this season, with the sounding signings of Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann for the club, the ambition of winning the Champions League continues to be there and there is no way around it: Ernesto Valverde really needs to at least reach an European final or his job might really be at risk.
Once again, and despite the failures in previous years, Barcelona is at the top of the contenders list to win the competition, occupying the 2nd place on the list of favourites on bookmakers with odds of 6.00 to finally win the trophy of the Champions League.
Top clubs like Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus ( 9.00) or Bayern München ( 11.00) also have higher odds than Barcelona on Bet365, and that only serves to prove that Barcelona continues to be very respected by the markets, something that naturally adds pressure to the side being led by Ernesto Valverde.
Lionel Messi might have let the 2019 Ballon D’Or slip away after a disastrous end to the season and now he will have to tread a new route looking to recover a trophy that, during a certain period of 2019, looked entirely his.