FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman admitted that other members of his squad need to do "a lot of running" in order for Lionel Messi to remain "the best player in the world." The newly appointed Blaugrana boss understands that if he wants Messi to perform at the peak of his abilities, players around him must work harder.
The 33-year-old Argentine is undoubtedly one of the best footballers that the world has seen. His achievements on the field showcase his talents and make him stand apart from his peers. But at the end of the day, football is a team sport. Messi, no matter how exceptional he plays, would ultimately be measured by the extent of success his team experiences.
No matter who's sitting on the managerial chair of his club or country, Messi has always been given enough freedom to express himself on the field. And most of the time, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has delivered brilliantly.
Over the years, he has collected numerous major honours for his club. But Koeman believes that the players surrounding Messi should level up their games as well if they want Messi to continue bringing a lot of success to the Catalan camp.
In a recent interview, the 57-year old Dutchman said, "We have Messi in the team. I see, from the beginning, the big qualities he has as a player. Also, his commitment to the team in trying to do good pressing upfront. He's the best because he is so easy on the pitch, but he's very intelligent. It's still 11 against 11; you need good organisation in a team. You need to approach the individual qualities of the players. And the rest, they need to do a lot of work, a lot of running, because then Messi can still be the best player in the world."
According to the official UEFA website, Koeman also commented about Barca's 2-8 humiliation against Bayern Munich last season. Koeman said that Bayern's physical state and organisation as a team has been excellent.
Also, he commented that a team cannot win without all its players contributing to a common cause. It seems that Koeman wants his team to move on from their mindset of depending on a single person.