Ronald Koeman defends Lionel Messi’s commitment to Barcelona

Barcelona boss defends Lionel Messi’s hardworking commitment

A viral video of Lionel Messi walking back to defend rather than showing some rigor and enthusiasm has now brought in a wave of new critics who are criticizing the Argentine’s work rate. In the video, it shows Messi walking back to his side of the pitch while Dynamo Kyiv were on the attack and were looking for a last-minute equalizer. The clip can be easily taken out of context and be used against the player, however, Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has decided to publicly defend his player from the media.

From a neutral perspective it the clip does put Messi in a bad light as he is oftentimes seen walking or strolling about on the pitch and not putting much effort however, an avid follower would know that Messi has been doing this for years in order to save up his energy to burst into action and help the attack.

He also helps his team a lot in the defense as he demonstrated in the match against Celta Vigo. Clement Lenglet was sent off in the 42nd minute after a second yellow card and the Argentine fell back often to help out his team secure the win with 10 men.

Koeman in an interview talked about Messi’s work rate and vehemently defended his star player by saying,

“Leo is a great player and we want him on the pitch where he can do damage,”

“He is very important, especially in attack, and he’s already played different positions, like false nine or on the win. We believe in him and he always creates problems for the opposition.”

“You can get an image of anyone walking and it doesn’t interest me. I have not seen him walking. If you want to stir up controversy, that’s your problem, but I am not in agreement.”

Source Sport

Along with Koeman, Messi’s former teammate and Arsenal legend Thiery Henry also defended the player from the media by saying,

“I understand that you need to sell stuff and you need to make stories, but not this guy. Seriously. I played with Leo, this is not the guy you need to attack.”

“This is what I don’t understand – and he gets his credit, don’t get me wrong – but sometimes picking on the guy just for the sake of picking on the guy.”

Source Metro

The media really made the situation a mountain out of a molehill but after the transfer fiasco in August, it is really not surprising to jump to conclusions and assume that the Argentine is not enjoying his time in Barcelona and thus is not putting in the effort. However, this is far from the truth according to his manager who claims that Messi is professional on the training pitch and he manages to keep his personal feelings away from his professional duties.

Messi has always been known as the most hardworking player on the field at both club and country, but yet suffers criticism from both fans and foes for allegedly not giving his 100%.

What does the Argentine have to do more to prove his commitment?