Messi has experienced, by his incredibly high standards, a crisis of late. Famed for his dribbling and finishing, he hadn’t scored a La Liga goal from open play since September of last year. A recurrent hamstring injury accounted for two of those months, but some fans, from Barcelona and beyond, were questioning if he would get back to his best.
A double blow came last month, when Messi missed out on the Ballon D’or to his arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo, and then failed to make the European team of the year, as voted for by the fans.
Martino says that fans who criticised Messi should be ashamed:
“Those that are negative, do not realise they are affecting his pride. When you do that to the best player in the world, this is what happens.”
Messi’s pride seems about to return. He grabbed a brace in Sunday’s victory over Sevilla, a result that returns Barcelona to the league summit. Manchester City fans watch out, reports of Messi’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.