The COVID-19 pandemic has seen football played behind closed doors for a year now, allowing people in stadiums to hear every word spoken on the pitch
Lionel Messi gets five or six hits in the game
Alfred Schreuder, who’s Ronald Koeman’s assistant at Barcelona, has said the players openly instruct their teammates to foul Lionel Messi to stop him. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen football played behind closed doors for a year now, allowing people in stadiums to hear every word spoken on the pitch. “Messi gets five or six hits in the game,” Schreuder told reporters. “Without fans, you hear the opponents say things to each other. When Leo gets the ball, you hear them say, “Foul! Put him down! But it doesn’t work, and they hit him in a way that is a yellow card in Spain. But it will be red in the Netherlands.” Messi’s future has yet to be determined, but his loss at the Camp Nou would be felt for reasons beyond the obvious.
“This week, we worked on a training system that Gerard Pique did not do with us,” said Schreuder. “He had been injured for a long time. So I wanted to explain the idea of it to him, but Messi came up and said, ‘Alfred, it’s not necessary. I already brought him up to speed’. That is Messi. He sees everything, understands everything, looks at everything.” The Midweek Copa del Rey comeback was memorable for Barcelona, even for their big-name stars who have achieved everything there is to accomplish in the game. “It was great to see how players like Messi, Sergio Busquets and Pique felt it,” Schreuder said.
“They won everything, they went through everything, but they were as happy as the kids. It shows the energy in the team. They are having fun. Of course, this is not the Barcelona of seven or eight years ago, but the team are moving forward.”