Lionel Messi left Barcelona more than a month ago and it seems like the club still couldn't get over him yet. He's been talked about a lot especially after Barca's poor start to their league campaign. Barca coach Ronald Koeman said the Argentine always demanded the best from his teammates while training at Barcelona and the club may be missing his presence right now.
Koeman said Messi used to raise the bar at the Camp Nou club as he developed into one of the greatest to ever play the game before departing to join Paris Saint-Germain last month.
"Lionel Messi has obscured everything. He was so good and he won," he told Voetbal International.
"Of course he had good players around him, but he made the difference. Everyone seems better than they are because of him. This is not a criticism, but an observation.
"I knew how good he is, but it's still nice to see it up close every day. Everything you would like to teach a football player, in recognising situations, in taking the ball under pressure, in ball speed, in finishing; with Messi, everything is a 10. Not normal, not normal!
"When we did a finishing practice during training, there were sometimes players who started to hit easy balls, a bit of fooling around. But with Messi, everything was: boom, boom, boom, boom. Never frills, everything functional. And always wanted to win everything.
"We always play a rondo before training. If the ball goes around 20 times, then the players in the middle must have an extra turn. If that happens three times in a row, the players will form two lines and the two who were in the middle then walkthrough and get taps on their heads and such.
"I asked Messi if it had happened to him once. 'Yes, once,' he said. In all those years. With him, the older players never lost an exercise against the young. It happened once and Messi was seriously angry about that for a week. Really, a tyrant."
Koeman has admitted that Messi's absence has been noticed since he left.
Some players, like Ansu Fati, are not training with the same intensity as they did in the presence of the man who helped guide them to 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.