Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone noted it would be difficult for FC Barcelona to replace Lionel Messi as the two Spanish rivals are set to meet up on Sunday night at the Metropolitano Stadium.
Simeone believes that without Messi, Barcelona is a less threatening squad but adds that any team that loses a player of Messi’s caliber becomes a less lethal attack.
“Where Messi is will always be decisive, be it in the national team, in his current team or in Barcelona,” Simeone said. “With a player of Leo’s characteristics, there is a better chance of winning.”
MESSI. SIEMPRE MESSI. Las espectaculares palabras del Cholo Simeone para el capitán del actual campeón del mundo. pic.twitter.com/yoL9c19Spi
— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) January 7, 2023
Messi left the Camp Nou in the summer of 2021 and struggled last season under Ronald Koeman in the wake of Messi’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain. However, they recovered with Xavi to finish second in La Liga.
This season, Barcelona appeared to be prepared to replace Messi after adding players such as Robert Lewandowski to the attack. Nonetheless, the team crashed in the UEFA Champions League group stage for a second straight season.
If Barcelona fails to win La Liga, the UEFA Europa League and Copa del Rey, it will be another disappointing season for the Spanish club.