Lionel Messi has squandered a glorious opportunity to add a fifth Champions League winners’ medal to his collection.
Okay, so the blame doesn’t rest entirely at Messi’s feet.
Far from it, in fact. He scored 12 goals in Barcelona’s European campaign - Luis Suarez managed just one.
But Messi’s critics will point out how Cristiano Ronaldo was able to inspire Real Madrid to three Champions League victories in a row, producing several special moments when it mattered.
Messi was helpless to prevent Barcelona surrendering a 4-1 lead against Roma last season and it was a similar tale this time around.
- Barcelona bus left Messi at Anfield
- 'Robertson should have seen red for Messi push'
- Klopp's classic post-match interview
Liverpool managed to keep the 31-year-old quiet all game, with The Guardian giving him a rating of just four out of 10.
“No magic this time,” they wrote. “Had a second-half sulk as the dream of another final collapsed around him. “Beaten long before the final whistle.”
Messi's poor return away from home
Not since 2015 has Messi lifted the trophy, and the root of the problem may lie in his record in the knockout stage away from home.
Per Squawka, he hasn’t scored an away goal in the Champions League beyond the round of 16 since April 2, 2013, when he scored in a 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final.
Messi has since played in nine away knockout matches beyond the last 16, failing to score in any of them.
The inquest will begin immediately at Camp Nou, where Ernesto Valverde has failed to deliver the trophy that every Barcelona fan wants.
Jurgen Klopp outwitted the Barcelona boss at Anfield, managing to stifle Messi while applying pressure from the onset.
The solution could very well be new additions in the summer.
A deal has already been agreed with Ajax for midfielder Frenkie de Jong, and his teammate Matthijs de Ligt may follow.
Given Suarez’s return in Europe, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Barcelona splash the cash on a new striker as well.
Anything to help Messi out.News Now - Sport News