For many years now, ‘Messi-dependence,’ denoting an over-reliance on Barcelona’s talisman, has been a phrase that has been rolled out game after game after game.
When you have a player that can do everything and, moreover, is generally the very best at whatever he turns his mind to, it’s difficult not to take advantage of the same.
However, Barca might finally be turning the corner in that regard.Since Ronald Koeman has been in charge, Lionel Messi has been no less important for the Dutchman than any manager previously, but the coach now has other options within his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
So much so that it looks to have given the Argentinian and club captain some of his enjoyment back.
He has the freedom of the Camp Nou to roam within and orchestrate Barca’s destruction of their opponents.
Though the Catalans didn’t beat Sevilla last night, they gave an excellent account of themselves, and Messi was by turn back in the defensive midfield position, wide left, wide right and central.
The formation looks to be a fluid, ever-changing concept as those around Messi adapt to his movements, realigning themselves as needed.
Furthermore, the press that Barca were renowned for under Pep Guardiola has returned.
There was one point against Sevilla when the Andalusians had four on two on a breakaway, but in a matter of seconds, the blaugranes had nine men behind the ball.
It was brilliant to see and must surely give Messi some clarity as to what the rest of the season may look like.
Ultimately, as captain, he still shoulders much of the responsibility for the side, but on Sunday night, others took control and moved the play on as necessary.
It gave a freshness to Barca’s play overall but also to Messi. Let’s not forget just how anti-club he was just a few short weeks ago.
An alleged opening conversation with the manager appeared not to have gone well, however, now they understand each other a bit better, they’re rowing in the same direction too.
Unbeaten after three tough games can only give Messi hope that this season could end up producing the silverware that’s been desired for years now.
Every player in the squad, including the fringe players, have to do their bit and play their part to ensure that happens.
If it does, then there’s no reason whatsoever why Messi can’t be the one raising the trophies at the end of the campaign.