Lionel Messi converted a late penalty on Sunday at Camp Nou which secured thee points for his team but the Barça No. 10 resisted from celebrating the goal. Nothing concerns the Barcelona faithful more than Messi's state of mind and they are right to be anxious. A player like Messi comes around once in a blue moon and the mere fact that there may be a suggestion that he is prepared to leave the club is case for concern. When Messi isn't comfortable on the pitch, this clearly impacts on his team-mates. Some analysts have even interpreted the frown on the players face as a vote of no confidence for Luis Enrique as Barça struggle on.
Barça player Gerard Piqué yesterday spoke out and defended the Asturian coach during a promotional event. The defender has a view on all matters but he spoke with objectivity and was anxious to look at the situation at the club with a positive perspective. Apart from his choice of wording (“when Luis Enrique arrived at the club, we were really in the shit”), his viewpoint was consistent and carried more weight than that of the club president speaking the day before, doing his best to suggest a show of support for Luis Enrique but with a somewhat hollow sentiment.
As it transpired, the words of the club president Bartomeu carry little weight whilst Pique's (a player who is not even club captain but has been touted as a future Barça president) are pounced upon by the media. Gerard Pique is a key reference point at the Catalan club but the real barometer is Lionel Messi, whose scowl is an accurate diagnostic of the situation at the club with the team struggling in midfield as Busquets and Iniesta grapple with their respective levels of form. Rakitic is playing erratically, André Gomes has yet to convince and Rafinha and Denis have yet to put in outstanding performances whilst Sergi Roberto struggles on the wing. Barça are a shadow of the team they once were and Messi is playing with a furrowed brow which is a cause for concern.