JUVENTUS boss Andrea Pirlo believes Lionel Messi is enduring psychological issues after his failed transfer.
The Argentine’s future was football’s biggest talking point over the summer after his sensational transfer request was turned down.
Andrea Pirlo believes Messi is enduring psychological issues[/caption]
Messi, 33, refused to take his boyhood club to court and reluctantly agreed to see out the final year of his contract at the Nou Camp despite heavy speculation of reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
But his form appears to be suffering as a result with just four goals from his first ten La Liga matches.
And ahead of Juve’s Champions League clash with Barcelona tonight, Pirlo believes his summer of turmoil has affected his performances.
The Italian said: “[Messi] is at a special moment in his life, not in his career, because he had a problem this summer.
“[It’s about] whether he would stay at Barcelona or not.
“But during games he has always shown his value.
“More than a football [issue], he probably has a psychological problem, but I don’t want to go into it, as it has nothing to do with us.
“Messi is a phenomenon and he has shown it.”
Lionel Messi saw his transfer request turned down by Barca in the summer[/caption]
Tonight’s contest sees Messi reunite with old foe Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in two years.
Pirlo refused to get drawn into comparisons of the world superstars and instead insisted fans just enjoy the moment of seeing them grace the same pitch.
He added: “It would be a mistake to say that one is better than the other.
“They continue to show off [their talent], they share Ballon d’Or [prizes between them] and they are making millions of fans enjoy themselves. They have done a lot for football.”
Messi and Ronaldo have played against each other 35 times with Messi winning six more, scoring 22 times, three greater than Ronaldo.
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman is relishing seeing two of the greats going up against each other once again.
He said: “It’s fantastic that these two players have been so long at this top level in the world.
“They are the best players, in my opinion, in the last 10-15 years. Being successful all this time is incredible.
Ronaldo and Messi will reunite for the first time in two years[/caption]
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“It’s a great compliment to those players.
“They are different, but they have incredible stats about scoring goals, hat-tricks, about winning prizes.
“It’s not nice to say who is better because both are incredible, I admire both players because they gave us so many nice evenings with great goals, with great titles.”