In their first match after the coronavirus suspension, Barcelona heads to Real Mallorca and the islanders are braced for Lionel Messi said ahead of Barcelona’s visit to Son Moix.
After more than a three-month hiatus enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, LaLiga resumed Thursday, and on Saturday Barca will resume her title charge at Palma.
In the eventuality of Barca playing with Messi, Real Mallorca coach Vicente Moreno says that Lionel Messi can make a difference whenever he wants and there is nothing his opponents can do to stop him while he is in such a mood.
“We will have in front of us the best player in the world by far, who is Messi. There will be many more [players in the Barca team], but especially Messi, the one who makes the difference compared to the others,” Moreno said on Friday.
Hosts Mallorca – in the third relegation place – may have fallen by kick-off to 19th, and they are well aware of the powerful challenge ahead.
“I think when you face Barcelona, you always have two sides,” he said. “On one hand, there is big excitement because you want to enjoy the chance of playing against this kind of player.
“So, we will have the opportunity to enjoy watching Messi, and we have to as the football fans we are, but, on the other hand, we will suffer him as well. In fact, we did already in the other game when he scored a hat-trick.”
Messi was inspiring for the Barca side that had overwhelmed many feelings this season before the suspension. The Argentina star scoring 19 goals – including a hat-trick at Camp Nou against Mallorca – and providing 12 assists, both of which are league-high figures.
Despite the possibility of a bit of rustiness after such a prolonged break, Moreno expects Messi to be as deadly as ever-but it is a privilege to come up against him, says the coach:
“He is such a good player, so when he wants to make the differences, he just does it, and you can do nothing to stop him.
“I hope to have these chances many times. Playing against a team like Barcelona, or players like Messi means that we stay in the top tier – if Messi keeps playing for many years, we can enjoy watching him too.
“If we keep struggling with him, that means we stay in the elite, and that’s all we want.”
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Barca is set to play without Nelson Semedo.
He was left out of training “as per protocol established by LaLiga” after reports that he attended a party earlier in the week, flouting medical guidelines.
Moreno has sympathy despite widespread criticism of him and the four Sevilla players caught breaking similar rules at a barbecue last month.
“I think players are also young people,” he added. “They are also doing a big effort. Sometimes It looks like they don’t have any other right, as they are earning that big amount of money, we are always judging the player because he is earning a lot of money.
“So, I’ve nothing to say. They are young people and they want, like all of us wanted, to get out from the lockdown and going out to dinner with friends. Many times they judge them correctly or wrongly, depending on some pictures that someone could have uploaded without your knowing.
“So, I understand him [Semedo] and I think he didn’t have any bad intentions. Again, I believe we have to give confidence to the player and not kill him.”