Louis van Gaal has hit out at Lionel Messi, claiming the Barcelona talisman should be adapting himself to the team, and not the other way around.
The former Blaugrana boss thinks that the forward has too much freedom at Camp Nou, with recent Barca managers prioritising Messi’s individual talents over the team.
Despite winning the Liga title last season, the club fell short in the Champions League yet again, losing out to eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-final.
That means Messi remains on four European titles, with Barca having failed to reach the final since winning the competition in 2015.
And Van Gaal believes that the failure is down to one specific problem; Messi.
In an interview with El Pais , the ex-Manchester United manager explained that the Argentine is the reason behind Ernesto Valverde’s lack of success on the European stage.
“I believe that there is nothing more important than the team player,” said Van Gaal.
“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.
“Look at Barcelona. How many Champions Leagues have they won with the one everybody says is the best player in the world? Look at Neymar at PSG. How many Champions Leagues has he won?
“He’s the best individual player in the world because his stats are amazing. But why hasn’t he won a Champions League for five years?
“As captain, you have to ask yourself why the team doesn’t win in Europe. I think that Messi is also responsible for what is happening at Barcelona, not just the coach.
“They have a squad of 30 players and I believe that Messi should adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around.”
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