Barcelona’s players have been savaged on social media after their humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich – and Lionel Messi is no exception after showing a shocking lack of leadership.
Footage has emerged from inside the LaLiga giants’ dressing room which shows Messi appearing visibly deflated and sitting down with his shoulders slumped during the half-time break.
His team-mates then begin to prepare to re-emerge for the second half in Lisbon but the 33-year-old, who captains the team, appears to make no effort to inspire them.
Por imágenes cómo estás, Messi no puede llevar la cinta de capitán de ningún equipo. Con 45 minutos por delante así estaba el argentino. pic.twitter.com/NXwrLKIUd4
Messi resembled a truly beaten man after watching on as the Bundesliga champions ran riot in their Champions League quarter-final clash on Friday night.
Barcelona shipped four goals in each half, two of which came from their own player in Philippe Coutinho, and Messi struggled to impose himself on the shockingly one-sided encounter.
But as Quique Setien’s men floundered and unfolded in embarrassing fashion, Messi also failed to rally his fellow stars both on and off the field – leaving social media users free to criticise his subdued nature.
One user believes that Messi is ‘not captain material’. They wrote that Barcelona’s players would have written the game off after only 45 minutes judging by their leader’s lack of reaction.
Another said: ‘Let’s be honest, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos don’t allow that to happen. Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique looked dead and buried, zero leadership.’
A third believes that any good captain should ‘remain strong’ regardless of the scoreline, and added: ‘No wonder Barca had no morale when Messi looked like this at half-time.’
Juventus forward Ronaldo, who also suffered a disappointing knockout from the tournament, was once again referenced by another user.
They said: ‘He’d go psycho at half-time losing 4-1. Saw none of that personality and leadership from Messi last night.’
‘A leader does not sit down in quietness when the team needs spirit,’ a fifth person surmised.
Messi’s ineffectual displays during crunch European games have also now been laid bare – and the threat of perhaps the greatest player of all time winning just three Champions League trophies now appears very real.
Barcelona’s last five exits from the competition have seen the club fail to score in all but one game, and Messi hasn’t recorded either a goal or an assist in any of them.
The superstar is believed to have no intentions of walking away from the club, despite them resembling a fallen empire, but will use the uncertainty that now plagues him to strong-arm summer elections into taking place.
The Barcelona fan base have been left disgruntled due to the manner of the team’s defeat, with Messi among the players to have been jeered when they returned to their hotel late on Friday.