Following the uproar in Barcelona this summer, awareness of Lionel Messi’s “target drought” has increased in strength. It took 12 games before the star player scored his first goal in established play this season.
The unusual “goal drought” of Lionel Messi, has become a theme this autumn before it turned against Real Betis on Saturday. And it happened after he had sat on the bench for the first 45 minutes.
– I think quite a lot of untapped energy was unleashed for Messi’s part when he finally got the player goal, says Petter Veland, Viasat commentator and expert on Spanish football, to VG.
Before Saturday’s two goals, where one of them again came from the penalty spot, Messi had not scored in the league since the penalty goal in the opening match against Villareal on 27 September. However, he had scored three goals for Barcelona in the Champions League, but even there everyone had been penalized.
In total, the Argentine star had gone 11 games without a goal in an established game before scoring the 4-2 goal against Real Betis, which led to Barcelona being in 8th place in La Liga.
– Of course this is a player who is used to everyone talking about him and setting positive records. He is on a record hunt all the time. Now there is a focus on lack of goals in established play and it is an unfamiliar situation, says Veland.
– It comes on top of the contract situation and the fact that he tried to get away, but was held back, he says.
The noise in Barcelona this summer peaked when the star player in one
asked to leave the club for free. The star player has been very unhappy with Barcelona resident Josep Maria Bartomeu, who recently resigned after the power struggle with Messi.
– When two parties have reached the point where you talk through lawyers and formal letters, then there is not much love left, the football correspondent Sid Lowe wrote in after Messi’s wish by email became known
Veland believes that Messi’s disputes with the recently resigned club president have eroded Messi’s and affected his performance.
– It has obviously come into play. It is no coincidence that 11 official matches for Barcelona without goals now come in his mentally toughest period. The club has been down with a broken back, there is a new coach and trouble with the presidency. I do not think Messi is unmotivated. It is more the circumstances that come into play, says Veland.
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman also admitted that the autumn has been demanding for Messi.