Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona. Picture: QUALITY SPORT IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona. Picture: QUALITY SPORT IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES

Barcelona — Talking points from the weekend in La Liga in Spain.

Have Real Madrid lost their fight? Real Madrid pointed the finger at league organisers after their 0-0 draw at Osasuna. Coach Zinedine Zidane and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said the match should have been called off due to a snowstorm, which also disrupted their journey to and from Pamplona.

The disappointing result followed a 1-1 draw at struggling Elche in Real’s previous away match and the question whether the side lack the mentality needed to win the less glamorous matches, reared its head again.

“The players are losing their enthusiasm to play for Madrid,” said AS newspaper, unimpressed with the club’s complaints about the weather. “It’s time to leave the spa and get in the freezing mud and win.”

If Barca keep playing like this, maybe Messi will stay:  Lionel Messi has always said the most important factor in determining his future is whether or not Barcelona have a winning team, and if their recent form is anything to go by, he could yet decide to remain at the club.

The Argentinian certainly looked happy as his side romped to a 4-0 win at Granada, scoring twice to make it four goals in his last two games and also becoming top scorer in the league for the first time this season.

Having looked sluggish early in the season as he failed to dovetail with a flood of new teammates, Messi certainly has taken his time to hit form, but there looks to be little stopping him now.

“Lately Messi has been excellent and much more effective,” coach Ronald Koeman said. “Like the rest of the team, he struggled at the start of the season, but he has always stayed motivated.”

Celta new manager’s bounce fades without Aspas: New coach Eduardo Coudet quickly knocked Celta Vigo into shape as they won five out of six games at the back end of 2020, but the momentum generated by his arrival has faded fast, especially since talisman Iago Aspas got injured.

Friday’s 4-0 hammering at home to Villarreal was the team’s third defeat in a row in all competitions, coming hot on the heels of a traumatic 5-2 Copa del Rey thrashing at third division Ibiza and last weekend’s 2-0 loss at Real Madrid. Having won six of their previous seven games while conceding three times before Aspas tore his hamstring against Real, the team have shipped nine goals in their last two matches.

“We’re always going to miss Iago when we can’t call upon him, he’s our most decisive player, our Messi, so of course we’re going to feel his absence,” Coudet said.

Aspas is set to return to action at the end of January and Celta will be counting the days until his recovery is complete. 


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