Messi feels impact of pandemic: "It's horrible without fans"
Spectators remain absent from LaLiga games, with Lionel Messi believing the lack of atmosphere is leading to closer contests.
Lionel Messi is looking forward to football getting back to normal after admitting it is "horrible" to play games without fans present inside stadiums.
Due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leagues across Europe continue to carry out fixtures behind closed doors in the 2020-21 season.
This was also the case to finish the previous campaign, meaning Messi has not played in front of supporters at Camp Nou since LaLiga was paused in March.
The Argentine superstar feels the impact of empty venues has been felt on the pitch too, as it negates any home advantage for teams and leads to more even contests.
"It's horrible to play without fans. It's not a nice feeling," Messi told Marca after picking up the Pichichi award for finishing as LaLiga's top scorer in 2019-20.
"Not seeing anyone in the stadium makes it like training, and it takes a lot to get into the game at the beginning.
"That's why we see such even games. It's very hard to win whoever you are playing against.
"The pandemic has caused football to change a lot, and for the worse. We are seeing it in games. Hopefully after all this is over, we can get people back into the stadiums and get back to normal."
Barça have certainly found it tough going in the league so far this campaign.
While Ronald Koeman's side have lost just once – against reigning champions Real Madrid – at home, they will go into the mid-season break off the pace in the title race.
Plenty of work for Barça to do
Messi acknowledges a slow start has left them with work to do in LaLiga, though he believes the situation could have been different had they been more ruthless in front of goal.
"We are going to try and win everything, as is always the case with this club. We are improving little by little," he said.
"It's true to say that it took us a little while to get going in LaLiga. We shouldn't have dropped so many points.
"I think we deserved more in the games against Deportivo Alavés and Gefate, and also against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
"In those three games we created a lot of goalscoring chances, and if we had converted them, the situation in those games would have been different."
Future up in the air
While committed to helping Barça succeed on all fronts this season, Messi's long-term future at the club remains unclear having pushed to leave in the previous transfer window.
The 33-year-old is in the final year of his contract and has been heavily linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Recommended in English
- THE GAME AWARDS The Game Awards 2021: times, stream, how to watch it online and what to expect
- THE GAME AWARDS The Game Awards 2021: list of nominees and the 6 GOTY contenders
- NFL LA Rams' WR Mike Williams latest to be put on covid-19 list
- EUROPA LEAGUE Have Barcelona ever played and won in the Europa League?
- GOLF When will Tiger Woods return to the PGA Tour?
- NFL NFL Fantasy Picks: Watch out for Wilson against Houston