Skip to content

Lionel Messi driven by criticism, says coach Gerardo Martino

Feb 10, 2014, 10:09 AM EST

Sevilla FC v FC Barcelona - La Liga Getty Images

Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has revealed that prior to Lionel Messi’s brace in the Blaugrana’s 4-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday, the Argentine’s pride had been affected by negative criticism over his recent form.

Leading up to last weekend’s contest Messi had played in three matches since returning from a two month layoff with a hamstring issue. During that three game spell Messi scored only once – a penalty in the 3-2 loss to Valencia – triggering widespread criticism of the forward’s form.

“Those that are negative do not realize they are affecting his pride,” Martino said. “When you do that to the best player in the world, this is what happens.”

“This,” as Martino refers to it, was the sensational double that Messi handed Sevilla. Both goals came on brilliant counter attacks in conditions that would’ve had Noah rounding up the animals.

The first came 44 minutes in with the score deadlocked at one apiece. A Marc Bartra tackle at the edge of the box was recovered by right-back Martin Montoya, who fed Xavi, who found a streaking Andres Iniesta. The Spaniard’s diagonal ball was met by Adriano at midfield, who played Alexis Sanchez wide left. The Chilean cut back at the top of the Sevilla box and served up Messi, trailing in the center of the park. With the water-logged pitch a nuisance, Messi brilliantly stabbed the ball into the air before rifling a left-footed volley into the far side-netting.

Without a doubt, it was one of the best team and individual goals in a long time.

The second came in the 55th minute when Sevilla’s Kevin Gameiro was met by a well-timed Gerard Pique slide tackle 10 yards outside the Barcelona box. Iniesta latched on to the ball and quickly found Xavi, who played out to Montoya, who then served up Alex Song in the center of the park. Song split the Sevilla midfield with a pass to Messi inside the center circle, who then fed a breaking Iniesta, who passed back to Messi 25 yards out from goal. As three Sevilla defenders quickly collapsed, Messi settled the ball with his right foot before  unleashing a low, left-footed curler into the bottom corner.

Putting a cap on Martino’s musings was Iniesta, who reminded critics of one of Messi’s greatest tricks – the ability to lull opposition into believing he’s not into it: “Leo never goes missing, he is one of the few players in the world that in a few seconds or in a few meters can turn a game. He does it all the time and he did it again against Sevilla.”

Latest Posts
  1. Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Queens Park Rangers (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:34 AM EST

    With so many tall targets at Stoke, a long throw is a no brainer for Geoff. Getty Images

    Can QPR pick up their first away point of the season? Watch live, here.

  2. Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Everton (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:28 AM EST

    Two of the goalscorers collide as Everton and Palace played out an end-to-end game at Goodison. AP

    Can the Eagles climb above the Toffees? Watch live, here.

  3. Watch Live: West Bromwich Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:20 AM EST

    Kane Getty Images

    Harry Kane is the lone striker for Mauricio Pochettino, with Roberto Soldado on the bench.

  4. Watch Live: Sunderland vs. Burnley (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:16 AM EST

    Defoe AP

    Danny Ings remains up-top as usual for the Clarets.

  5. Watch Live: Liverpool vs. West Ham United (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:12 AM EST

    Newcastle United's Cabaye and Tiote challenge Liverpool's Sturridge during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle Reuters

    Steven Gerrard is unavailable to Liverpool, neither in the XI nor the substitutes. Daniel Sturridge starts on the bench.

  6. VIDEO: Is the suspension to Chelsea’s Diego Costa a fair punishment?

    Jan 31, 2015, 8:40 AM EST

    Did Costa know what he was doing? Our analysts break it down.

  7. Australia beat South Korea in thrilling final to win first-ever Asian Cup title

    Jan 31, 2015, 8:15 AM EST

    Korea Republic v Australia - 2015 Asian Cup: Final Getty Images

    Socceroos do the business on home soil, beat South Korea in extra time in Sydney.

  8. WATCH: Premier League live online via NBC Sports Live Extra – Week 23

    Jan 31, 2015, 7:29 AM EST

    Live Extra

    Where and how to watch every PL game during Week 23 live online or via the app.

  9. Done Deal: Real Madrid sign Argentina U-20 goalkeeper, Juan Cuadrado finalizes Chelsea move

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:57 PM EST

    Colombia v Uruguay: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Getty Images

    Transfer deals that have been confirmed over the past day or so.

  10. Pep Guardiola on Bayern’s stunning loss to Wolfsburg: ‘They were better at the right moments’

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:59 PM EST

    Germany Soccer Champions League AP

    Bayern Munich head man Pep Guardiola sees where his squad went wrong in its 4-1 defeat against Bundesliga opponent VfL Wolfsburg.

  11. Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Leicester City

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:08 PM EST

    Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Preview of a previously eye-catching match, Manchester City v. Leicester City, tomorrow morning on NBCSN.

  12. Burnley adamant that striker Danny Ings isn’t headed to Liverpool

    Jan 30, 2015, 7:00 PM EST

    danny_ings

    Danny Ings looks poised to stay at Burnley due to a certain transfer rule that would block his departure to Liverpool.

  13. US international Joe Gyau has second surgery, could be out for rest of year

    Jan 30, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

    2012 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying - Day 3 Getty Images

    United States and Borussia Dortmund II’s Joe Gyau underwent another surgery on his torn meniscus, and he could be done for the season.

Featured video

Chelsea v Man City: Lampard the hero?