Barcelona forward #Lionel Messi trained alone after their 3 – 0 defeat to Juventus in the first leg of their encounter in the #Uefa Champions League. Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Messi trained alone in the gym instead of joining the other players in meeting with #Luis Enrique. The detail of the meeting is not clear, but reports indicate that the coach pointed out the mistakes of the previous match with Juventus and suggested improvements.
Enrique is stepping down as coach of the Catalan side at the end of the season after a disappointing season with the Spanish side.
Enrique's problems have been compounded by the performances of Mathieu and Gomes in the team. Critics have questioned the coach's decision to include the two players in the lineup after poor displays in previous matches.
The silent protest
Messi training alone is a protest against the coach and his decisions that may have cost the team. The coach is the man in charge, and on some occasions, there may be a clash of egos between players and management, but there is more to this than meets the eye. The strength of a football team is measured by the unity both on and of the pitch. Considering Messi's position as the captain of the team, training alone shows the division in the team. Right or wrong, the captain should always lead by example, and the decision to go solo only deepens the crisis in the team.
Similar to Ranieri
After winning the premier league last season with a team of unknown players, Claudio Ranieri was sacked after a poor run of form that left Leicester City close to relegation.
Ironically, after Ranieri’s departure, the foxes started playing better and winning matches, qualifying for the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League in the process.
Many saw the improvement after Ranieri left as a betrayal; either the team refused to give their best or lacked the right motivation. One thing is certain; the players lost their confidence in the Italian to deliver the goods.
Luis Enrique looks to be in the same boat Ranieri was in at Leicester, after successes with Barcelona, the coach seems to have lost the players' trust. The Catalan side's captain might just be stating the obvious.
Barcelona has lost their last two competitive matches; 2 – 0 to Malaga in the Spanish league and 3 – 0 to Juventus in the Champions League. Barcelona will face bitter rivals Real Madrid on the 23rd of April and need to be at their best to win.