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Barcelona win every time Lionel Messi does not play as they “draw on other strengths”, claims former Argentina goalkeeper Hugo Orlando Gatti.
Messi served the final match of a two-game suspension after his red card in the Supercopa de Espana decider as third-placed Barca defeated Elche 2-0 in LaLiga on Sunday.
The record six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been heavily linked with an exit on a free transfer amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
Barca have won 10 of 17 games with Messi in LaLiga this season, and one of two in his absence – drawing the other.
Last season, Barca had a 66.7 winning percentage with Messi in the league – claiming 22 of 33 matches, while the Spanish giants won 60.0 per cent of their fixtures in his absence – three wins from five matchups.
But countryman Gatti, no stranger to hitting out at Argentina skipper Messi, told El Chiringuito: “Every time Messi doesn’t play, Barcelona win because they can draw on other strengths.
“Football is about winning and if you play well, even better.
“Every time Messi doesn’t play, Barcelona win.”
Messi – out of contract at season’s end – has scored 11 goals in 17 league appearances for Barca this season, while he has 14 across all competitions.
Ronald Koeman’s Barca are 10 points adrift of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid through 19 rounds in 2020-21.
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