Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi: Why I don't go on as many individual runs at Barcelona anymore

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Now that Lionel Messi is into his 30s, it's only natural that the Argentina international will gradually have to adapt his style of play.

Over time he will start to lose his pace, just like how Cristiano Ronaldo has, although one thing that will never change is Messi's dribbling and vision.

It's been noted over the past couple of years that Messi has adopted more of a free role at Barcelona, whereby he drops deeper to pick up possession and link up play.

Whereas the Argentine used to stick to the final third, he can now be found sometimes lingering in midfield as a deep-lying playmaker.

"Yes, in the past year I have moved a bit deeper, getting to the goal from behind, unlike other years when I was more in the final third of the pitch," Messi told Pepsi recently.

"So it's true that I have moved a few metres back, but still with the [same] idea of getting in the area and trying to score goals."

Even Messi realises his role is changing, though it hasn't made too much of an impact on how many goals he scores for Barcelona.

He has 33 in all competitions this season, 24 of which in La Liga, and has also provided 14 assists for his teammates.


However, in a more recent interview with La Cornisa, Messi explained how there's something else that's changed about his game in recent times.

Messi claims he's not nearly as selfish as he used to be and doesn't try to do everything by himself anymore, which explains why he doesn't go on as many individual runs.

There was once a time when Messi would drive at opponents at any given moment, whereas now he looks to play through balls more often.

"Before I was robbing the ball and making my play [alone], or at least trying to make my play," said the 30-year-old, per Sport.

"Now I try to play more for the team, to pass the ball more and to not be such a finisher or so selfish.

FC Barcelona v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

"I try to move the team from one position to another, but I keep running as much as ever, just in a different way."

No one is better than Messi when it comes to mazy runs, but he's decided that it's better for the team that he doesn't 'make the play' by himself all the time.

It means he doesn't score quite as many goals, but considering Barcelona are smashing it on all fronts this season, it's clearly working.

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