Juventus Coach Analyzes Lionel Messi’s Love-Hate Relationship With Barcelona
Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo candidly spoke about his thoughts on Lionel Messi before his team faces FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Both clubs have already passed the knockout stages, and Juventus coach Pirlo is well aware that his side must seal a victory over the Catalans.
Speaking to the media ahead of the match, Pirlo weighed in on Messi’s situation with Barcelona this season.
The Juve legend speculates that the stigma of Messi’s tumultuous summer with the club is still there, suggesting that it might have been affecting his career and even his mental health.
“[Messi] is at a special moment in his life, not in his career, because he had a problem this summer,” Pirlo told reporters in a press conference on Monday. “[It’s about] whether he would stay at Barcelona or not.”
“But during games he has always shown his value,” he continued. “More than a football [issue], he probably has a psychological problem, but I don’t want to go into it, as it has nothing to do with us. Messi is a phenomenon and he has shown it.”
Pirlo’s squad is trailing behind Barca by three points. This means that Juventus must secure a decisive win in order to top the group stage.
For Pirlo, his troop has “nothing to lose.” He then urged his wards to give all they got on the pitch.
“We have nothing to lose,” the manager pointed out. “We can play an open game. We are aware of the mistakes we made in the first leg. It will be a very difficult game because we will have to suffer, but we will have our chances and we have to take advantage of them.”
Another thing fans are surely looking forward to in the Barcelona vs. Juventus clash is the head-to-head of ultimate rivals Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
After more than two years, Messi and Ronaldo will finally meet each other on the field. The last time that both men met for a soccer fixture was on May 6, 2018, when the two were still battling it out for La Liga supremacy.
The El Clasico duel ended in a 2-2 draw, with both legendary players scoring one goal apiece.