The left-footed magician, regarded as the greatest player ever, has been the focal point of Barcelona’s attack for more than a decade now. Together the club and the Argentine have dominated the world of football by personal and combined achievements. Being the focal point, some great players with much more capabilities have been suppressed from showing their ability to the full. Having Messi in the team, the coaches limits the movement of the players on the field and mostly to pass to Messi. Moreover, the position of playing has always been an apple of discord between Messi and other players. It is harsh but is a fact. Here is the list of 7 players whose career suffered because of Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona.
1. Alexis Sanchez:
The former Udinese man and Chilean international Alexis Sanchez joined Barcelona in 2011 for a fee of 25 million euros with a great reputation. He is a tricky winger and has created a reputation with his ex-club Udinese. Unfortunately, he was unable to maintain the image he has created before and became a flop for Catalans. His freedom on the field was axed by the managers and was instructed to play deep and dribble less and to pass to Messi. He was under appreciated at Barcelona and his abilities were suppressed under the shadow of Leo. In his last season at Barca, he came out on top during Messi’s injury time and scored the second most goals for Barca in that season. After that, he left for Arsenal and has been one of the key players for the Premier League club.
2. Pedro Rodriguez:
The Spaniard has won everything possible at team level till the age of 27. But to his disappointment, he could never start more than 30 games in any season for Spanish giants. He was a gifted player but was never able to provide consistent performances as the management used to change his positions in order to give Messi the freedom to move around the defenses. At the age of 28, he joined the previous season’s Premier League champions Chelsea after winning the second treble with Barca. After Barcelona signed Luis Suarez, Pedro seemed surplus to requirements and was not given enough playing time. So he moved to Chelsea and has scored 8 goals in 38 appearances.
3. Thierry Henry:
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry came to the Catalan club in 2007 after 8 successful seasons at Arsenal where he banged 226 goals in 369 appearances for the club. He has been a Legend for Arsenal and has carried Arsenal’s attack on his back since he joined. At Barcelona, he was unable to regain his outstanding form as he was made to play on the wings due to Messi’s demand to play at the central attacking position. He ended up with striking 49 goals in 121 appearances for the Catalans and left the club in 2010 to join the MLS club New York Red bulls.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived in Barcelona in 2009 from Inter Milan for a transfer fees of 45 million euros in addition to Samuel Eto’o going the other way. His time at Barcelona started very well and he was the main striker for the club but the things began to go worse. As he has written in his autobiography:
“It was a childhood dream and I was walking on air, it started well but then Messi started to talk. He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1. I was sacrificed and no longer had the freedom on the pitch I need to succeed.”
In the end, he left Barcelona after only one season and moved out on loan to AC Milan.
5. David Villa Sanchez:
David Villa was as one of the best strikers in the world of his time and the best striker Spain has ever had. At his time at Valencia, he was a lethal striker and has scored 129 goals for the club in 5 seasons. He was purchased by Barcelona in 2010 for a transfer fee of 35 million euros. Since then he was held back at the club by early injuries and mostly used to warm the bench as he was denied to play as a striker. Moreover, his chances on wings were minimized as Messi preferred more mobile players on the wings. He proved his worth again when he join Atletico Madrid in 2013 and won the league title.
6. Samuel Eto’o:
Eto’o had been a prolific striker for Barcelona since 2004. As Pep Guardiola signed as the manager of the club, Eto and Guardiola developed clashes, In the 2008-09 campaign, he was made to play wide as the central position was to be given to Messi. He ultimately left the club after the treble winning season.
The Spanish international and a graduate from La Masia academy Bojan made his Barcelona debut in 2007 and scored 12 goals in the first season. He was one of the most promising youngsters. But is now struggling as he could not express himself at Barca due to clashes for the position.
7 Players Whose Career Suffered Because of Lionel Messi
- Alexis Sanchez
- Pedro Rodriguez
- Thierry Henry
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- David Villa Sanchez
- Samuel Eto’o