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Barcelona was eliminated from the Champions League by Liverpool. The La Liga side blew their 3-0 lead as they lost 4-0 in the second leg and were eliminated from the semi-finals.
In an interview with El Pais, Manchester United former coach Louis van Gaal claimed that Lionel Messi is to blame for Barcelona’s recent failings in the Champions League.
“I like Messi as an individual player. He is the best individual player in the world because his statistics are amazing,” said Van Gaal.
“But why has he not won the Champions League since four years ago? Why? As a captain, you must ask yourself why the team does not win in Europe.
“Barça has a wonderful squad. You can not say that [Ivan] Rakitic is bad, or that [Philippe] Coutinho is bad, or that [Jordi] Alba is a bad player, or [Marc-Andre] Ter Stegen is a bad goalie, or Arthur or [Arturo] Vidal (are bad).
“I think Messi is also responsible for what is happening in Barcelona, not just the coach. Players have a substantial part of responsibility for what happens on the team.”
While former United coach criticized the Barcelona star, he praised Liverpool’s James Milner.
“In the final of the Champions League, Milner played as a defender and as a midfielder. It’s great that he can offer that at 33,” added the 67-year-old.
“The forwards? Everyone plays for the team. [Mohamed] Salah, [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mané work very hard in defence because [Jurgen] Klopp wants to press.
“He saw the light a few months ago: he understood that pressing is not always the right thing to do. It depends on the conditions.
“His Dortmund was more offensive than his Liverpool side, where he learned that sometimes you have to hold a little bit, collect your lines and counterattack.
“That is good for Salah, Mané and Firmino because they are very quick to take advantage of the spaces behind the rival defence.”