Lionel Messi to become a victim of tiki-taka demise?

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Spain 0-2 Chile - the end of tiki-taka football.

While the signs were there in last year's Confederations Cup final, and murmurings begun after Vicente del Bosque's men were thrashed in their opening World Cup game by the Netherlands, the humbling defeat to the Chileans officially marked the end of an era. The end of a six-year period of dominance for Spain.


But what does this mean for Barcelona's Lionel Messi? The four-time world player of the year isn't even Spanish, and his Argentina side may yet go on to win the World Cup. But his problems lie much closer to home, his home since he joined the famous 'La Masia' academy as a 13-year-old, anyway.

For while Spain have dominated international football over the past half decade or so, Barcelona have been club football's tiki-taka enthusiasts. Their period of domination ended rather abruptly in the semi-finals of the 2012-13 Champions League when they were outclassed, outfought and outdone by a very strong Bayern Munich side.

The earmarkings of that defeat were very similar to Spain's recent annihilation at the hands of the Netherlands. Teams seem to have worked out how to play against a side which knocks the ball around. Pace and power is the key - Bayern had Robben, Ribery, Schweinsteiger, the Netherlands had Robben, Van Persie and De Jong. 

It is something the Spanish did not have at this World Cup, it's something Barcelona haven't had for a while, too. Last season Gerardo Martino's side failed to win either La Liga, the Copa del Rey or the Champions League for the first time since the 2007-08 season.


The patient, passing game we became so used to seeing has gradually become ineffective. Off the ball, Barca's, and Spain's high-pressing tempo is now matched by Real Madrid, Bayern, Chile and the like. 

These factors could all have an affect on the performances of Messi. Barca's shortcomings last campaign coincided with the Argentine's drop in form. Yes, he was injured for parts of the season and yes, he still managed 41 goals in all competitions, but his performances certainly weren't as high as they had previously been as he was overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo, among others - not even making the La Liga team of the season.

Even Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso admitted it's the end of tiki-taka, before retiring from international football, and that's probably the case for Barcelona, as well as Spain. If they fail to change, they risk Messi becoming a shadow of what we know he can be.


No matter how good an individual is, they need the team to be performing well, because if Barca fail to adapt, they could again find themselves off the pace in La Liga and in Europe, and Messi could, once again, lose out to Ronaldo, and maybe others, in the battle to be the world's best.

I hope, for his sake as well as mine watching on the TV,  they do find a way to get the best out of him, so he can rightfully take his place among the greatest players the sport has ever seen.

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Spain Football
Lionel Messi
World Cup
Argentina Football

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