Barcelona’s reliance on Lionel Messi should not be considered a bad thing, according to former centre-back Patrik Andersson.
The Liga champions have often been accused of so-called ‘Messidependencia’ in the past by detractors and they have looked short of their best during the Argentina international’s recent absence due to a knee injury.
A defeat to Sevilla and stuttering performances against Bayer Leverkusen and BATE in particular have led to more scrutiny of the European champions’ form without their star forward, but Andersson believes they should simply be glad to have him as part of their set-up.
“Barca are not the same without Messi, but I don’t think Messidepenencia is a bad thing, because it means you have Messi in your team,” the former Sweden international, who spent three years as a player with Barca, told Mundo Deportivo.
“It would be worse if he wasn’t there. It’s a bit like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic with Sweden. They’re decisive.”
Luis Suarez has emerged as a crucial part of the Barca side in Messi’s absence, having scored the winner against Leverkusen and all three goals in the 3-1 win over Eibar.
Andersson has enjoyed watching Suarez adapt to life at Camp Nou but has nonetheless warned that Barca may find it difficult to defend their treble this season.
“I love how Suarez has adapted to this Barca,” the Swede added. “I like Luis Enrique’s team: it’s direct. They can repeat the treble, but it’s difficult: when you win everything, what else is there?
“It happened to Bayern Munich [in 2013-14]. The mental factor is important. Winning takes a lot out of you.”