What’s wrong with Lionel Messi? For the first time since 2011, the Barcelona striker has gone four league games in a row without scoring. In fact, his last strike in Spain’s La Liga was Sept. 28, although he did pick up an injury shortly after scoring, forcing him to miss the next game. Even so, 301 minutes without a goal is an eternity for the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, who took to Weibo, China’s twitter-like social media site, on Monday to explain himself:
"Games against Espanyol are always very complicated,” Messi said following the 1-0 win against Barca’s city rival last Friday in which he failed to score once again. “Physically I am still not at 100 percent, but I am sure that with more games I will get the rhythm.”
However, in his last three games against Espanyol, Real Madrid and Celta Vigo, Messi has looked visibly off the pace, beaten to the ball in a dead sprint by more than one defender, and most of his mazy runs have more often than not come to a premature end. To be fair, the Argentina captain has been hampered by a variety of muscle injuries since last April. Perhaps the diminutive striker is worried about tearing his muscle again?
Nevertheless, when asked about Messi’s form, Barca coach Tata Martino was very clear: "He is the most important player in a team of stars, he plays and he offers us everything,” the Argentine said. “I don't see him looking worried and what is happening at the moment is pure coincidence. I don't see him looking desperate, he shot with intent but without fortune and he has set the bar so high in the past that sometimes it is hard to beat that."