With just two matches leftover from the league season, he is one shy of the 23 goals he scored in 2008–09 – his lowest LaLiga score since his 26 in 2015–16, which he followed with a total of 37, 34 and 36 in the previous three seasons.
Messi might need some rest
The comparative deficit of goals of Leo Messi this season does not cause concern for head coach Quique Setien, who quickly indicated that the Barcelona superstar does more than just put the ball into the net. Although Messi has been the top scorer in LaLiga for this term since 22, 2019-20 looks like his least prolific season for over ten years. With just two matches leftover from the league season, he is one shy of the 23 goals he scored in 2008–09 – his lowest LaLiga score since his 26 in 2015–16, which he followed with a total of 37, 34 and 36 in the previous three seasons. Few would plead with Messi in a slight decline, given that this side of Barca is possibly the weakest since the Argentina icon made his breakthrough and is 33 years old.
Leo is not just scoring – also he assists
Setien was again told that the Barcelona talisman might need some rest. Although he accepts that it could be so, he also reminded the ill-wishers that Messi is not just scoring – his 20 assists in LaLiga are nine more than anyone or another in the division. “Of course, many players need to relax. The records are the same, but everyone loses this clarity of expression,” he said before Osasuna’s visit on Wednesday. “We have already discussed a lot about this topic. I can see Messi. There may indeed be some records with which he does not meet in comparison with other years. But we all know who Leo is, if he does not contribute with goals, he is with assists. All that I can say about him, I have already said.
The absence of Frankie de Jong did not help Barca in recent weeks, while the Dutchman missed seven matches due to a calf injury, although he seems to be going back against Osasuna. “He did some training with the group, he’s in a good frame of mind, and the problem is almost forgotten,” Setien added. “Let’s see if he starts tomorrow or starts on the bench. He is at the disposal of the team, of course.” Setien also effectively confirmed that Arthur associated with Juventus would be used only if necessary, with the already established Brazil international transfer for €82 million (£74 million/$94 million). The Barca manager said: “He’s back in the team and is training. He will have the opportunity to play if it is important and necessary.”