Ex-Barcelona midfielder and three times Ballon d’Or nominee Xavi Hernandez has revealed Lionel Messi gets “pissed off” if he’s not given the ball.
The duo played alongside each other in Catalunya, winning seven Liga titles together, until Spain international Xavi left for Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015.
Messi is used to getting his own way at Barca and has seen pressure on him to deliver increased since Neymar departed for Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germainbefore the 2017-18 season.
The Argentina international has scored 11 league goals in seven outings this term, 48 per cent of the club’s total haul, as Ernesto Valverde’s side sit five points clear at the top of the table.
Things aren’t going as smoothly for Messi on international duty, however, with Messi failing to score from open play in 2017.
And Xavi has moved to support his former team-mate, warning both Barca and Argentina they must keep Messi involved or risk the star getting annoyed.
“Barcelona and the Argentine national team cannot afford to allow 10 minutes to pass in a game without Leo Messi touching the ball,” Xavi told Sport.
“Messi has to be involved in the game. He has to be where things are happening, where the ball is.
“In addition, he’s going to get pissed off. If he doesn’t touch the ball for five minutes, you have to bring him to where the ball is. He has to participate in the play.”