Lionel Messi appears to have gotten over his sentimental attachment to Neymar as he claims that Barcelona are more ‘balanced’ without the Brazil star.
Barca lost Neymar in acrimonious circumstances in the off-season after French giants Paris Saint-Germain sensationally activated his €222million release clause.
Neymar, alongside Messi and Luis Suarez, formed Barca’s famed ‘MSN’ forward trio that helped the club to two La Liga titles and the Champions League among other trophies.
But Ernesto Velverde’s men adjusted well to the departure of the talented Brazilian, unbeaten and 11 points clear atop the La Liga table, a feat Messi attributes to improved stability so far, Goal writes.
“Without Neymar we are more balanced,” Messi told World Soccer .
“His departure meant a change in our way of playing, we lost a lot of attacking potential, but it helped in the defensive sense.
“We are currently very well armed in the midfield; this makes us stronger in defence.”
Barca are also preparing for the last 16 of the Champions League, where they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in a potentially explosive tie.
Despite Barca’s enormous potential, particularly with the addition of Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Messi maintains that former Barca boss Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are the team to watch, along with Neymar’s PSG.
“Manchester City are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment,” the Argentina attacker said. “The same goes for PSG.
“However, there’s a lot of football still to play and I don’t rule out Real Madrid yet as they have a lot of quality and experience. Then there’s Bayern Munich, another great team who will fight till the end. But right now, City and PSG are the best.”
Barcelona take on Alaves in La Liga on Sunday before entertaining Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday.