Did Lionel Messi refuse to be taken off during Barcelona’s 3-0 win against Eibar? No matter how you interpret the on-field the exchange between the four-time Ballon d’Or winner and Barca coach Luis Enrique, one thing is clear: Messi, who after scoring on Saturday is now one goal shy of equaling Telmo Zarra’s 59-year-old record for the most goals in La Liga history, doesn’t want to come off, and doesn’t.
Enrique, speaking ahead of Barca’s UEFA Champions League clash against Ajax on Tuesday, dismissed the incident as nothing worth talking about: "Before making changes we generally ask the players and we make the decision afterward,” the former Real Madrid and Barca player said. “What happened can be interpreted many ways, depending on whom it serves. I will carry on doing what I have been doing."
When asked about Saturday’s ‘Clasico’ with Real, Enrique replied: "The only game we are thinking about is Ajax, to gain the points we need to get through.” He added: We have to play a very complete match to ensure that Ajax are not allowed to show off their qualities, and they have a lot. They are a very well-structured side and they attack well. Last season they made life difficult. They beat Barcelona and they are without doubt a difficult team to play against.”
Barca is currently second in UCL Group F with three points, one point behind Paris Saint-Germain and one point above Ajax.