Louis van Gaal says Lionel Messi should ask himself why he hasn't won the Champions League since 2015

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg

It’s another season without Champions League glory for Lionel Messi.

The Argentinian and Barcelona squandered a glorious opportunity to win the competition for the first time since 2015.

No team that holds a 3-0 lead from the first leg should be blowing it. But that’s exactly what Ernesto Valverde’s side did when they lost 4-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in the semi-final.

And so the drought - yes, it can be called a drought in Barcelona’s case - continues.

Messi did all that he could for the Blaugrana. He scored 12 goals in the Champions League, including two in the first leg win against Liverpool.

And so it’s hard to put Barcelona’s disappointment at his feet.

But in Louis van Gaal’s opinion, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is responsible and should adapt himself to his teammates.

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg

'How has he not won the CL for so long?'

“Look at Barcelona. How many Champions Leagues have they won with the one everybody says is the best player in the world?” Van Gaal said in an interview with El Pais, per Goal's Sam Lee.

“Look at Neymar at PSG. How many Champions Leagues has he won?

“I like Neymar and Messi as individual players, not as team players. I believe that there is nothing more important than the team player.

“Barca suffer from that. I think Messi should ask himself how it is possible that he’s gone so long without winning a Champions League.

AS Roma v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two

“It’s not in the dressing room or in the training sessions at Barcelona, so I cannot judge.

“I like Messi as an individual player. He’s the best individual player in the world because his stats are amazing. I like him!

“But why hasn’t he won a Champions League for five years? Why? As captain, you have to ask yourself why the team doesn’t win in Europe.

“Barca have a fantastic squad. I think that Messi is aka responsible for what is happening at Barcelona, not just the coach.

“The players share a huge part of the responsibility for what happens in a team.”


Van Gaal, who announced his retirement from football management in March, went on to say Barcelona lack the right structure.

“It seems that way. But I cannot judge,” he added.

“They have a squad of 30 players and I believe that Messi should adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around.

“Guardiola made him play to the benefit of the team but the last few coaches have adapted too much to Messi instead of protecting the team spirit. Team spirit is the most important thing.

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“Guardiola won [the Champions League] with Barcelona because he had Messi and because he didn’t let Messi play in his own way. That’s the difference.

“Messi adjusted to Guardiola’s plan, not the other way around.

“Guardiola achieved the most difficult thing: that the players moved in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time.

“To do something like that you have to create a language, a team spirit, a community.

“Look at Aguero. He played for himself until Guardiola changed him and he moves when he’s supposed to. That’s the art of coaching.”

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