Louis van Gaal has blamed Lionel Messi for Barcelona's Champions League failures, claiming the Argentine superstar needs to adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around.
The former Barcelona boss believes Messi is given too much freedom at Camp Nou, with recent managers placing more focus his individual talents over the team.
Although the Blaugrana have been dominant in La Liga, they have failed to reach the finals of the Champions League since 2015 and lost dramatically eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-final last season.
And the Dutch tactician in an interview with El Pais says he thinks the failure of the team is down to one specific problem; Messi.
“I believe that there is nothing more important than the team player,” he said.
“Barca suffer from that. I think Messi should ask himself how it is possible that he’s gone so long without winning a Champions League.
“Look at Barcelona. How many Champions Leagues have they won with the one everybody says is the best player in the world? Look at Neymar at PSG. How many Champions Leagues has he won?
“He’s the best individual player in the world because his stats are amazing. But why hasn’t he won a Champions League for five years?
“As captain, you have to ask yourself why the team doesn’t win in Europe. I think that Messi is also responsible for what is happening at Barcelona, not just the coach.
“They have a squad of 30 players and I believe that Messi should adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around."
The former United boss who won back-to-back League titles with Barcelona in his first stint at the club cited Guardiola as the manager that has used Messi rightly.
“Guardiola made him play to the benefit of the team but the last few coaches have adapted too much to Messi instead of protecting team spirit. Team spirit is the most important thing.
“Messi adjusted to Guardiola’s plan, not the other way around.”