Once again, Lionel Messi was Barcelona’s saviour on Saturday afternoon.
The Argentine forward netted a sublime hat-trick to help his team secure a 4-2 victory over Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium (click HERE to watch his three goals).
Jesus Navas put the hosts 1-0 up in the 22nd minute but Messi equalised with a stunning left-footed volley. He then scored a second equaliser midway through the second half after Gabriel Mercado had put Sevilla 2-1 ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Messi completed his hat-trick in the 85th minute before setting Luis Suarez up for Barça’s fourth goal deep into stoppage time.
It was a wonderful individual performance from the man considered by many football fans as the greatest of all time.
However, it wasn’t a match that Messi’s teammate Arturo Vidal will look back on with much fondness.
The Chilean midfielder was subbed off at half-time following difficult opening 45 minutes, replaced by Ousmane Dembele.
Vidal, who joined the Catalan giants in a €19 million deal from Bayern Munich last summer, has been heavily criticised by the Spanish media for his underwhelming performance.
Marca rated Vidal as the worst of all Barça’s players, adding: “The Chilean played on the right, but it was not precise with his passing and drove some of his teammates mad, especially Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic. He was hooked at the break.”
Catalan newspaper Sport claimed Vidal’s play ‘doesn’t help the team’ in many matches.
They acknowledge that he can be useful in a midfield scrap, but they’re clearly not convinced he’s a good fit for Barça.
“Ernesto Valverde said in the press conference he knew the importance of the game and that there would be scraps and a war in Seville and he chose to play Arturo Vidal for that reason,” Sport’s Xavier Ortuno writes. “But the idea did not translate from theory to practice. The game became a battle of precision and errors and the Chilean suffered a lot.
“What is true is that Valverde noticed and at half-time subbed off Vidal for Ousmane Dembele, correcting his error. Let’s hope it’s a lesson learned. Later Alena came on and in 10 minutes made clear what the team needs.
“Arturo can bring something to Barca but the team needs to circulate the ball better, especially with Coutinho switched off. There will be time to go to war, but sometimes, although there are scraps, Arturo’s play doesn’t help the team.”
Meanwhile, Spanish football journalist Ben Hayward tweeted: “Arturo Vidal is a good player, but he's not a Barcelona player…”
And this seemed to sum up the thoughts of many Barça fans over on social media.News Now - Sport News