Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima has questioned the double standards surrounding Lionel Messi after Barcelona’s defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final.
Jürgen Klopp’s men produced a sensational comeback on Tuesday night, overturning a 3-0 deficit on aggregate by winning 4-0 at Anfield.
However, the 42-year-old Brazilian legend made his feelings perfectly clear about the Barça captain, mainly when it comes to how he’s not to blame for a defeat, yet manager Ernesto Valverde and Philippe Coutinho are made out to be the scapegoats.
“Barcelona have a great team, and they have the best player in the world in Messi,” he said at an event for Santander (via Marca).
“The other day I heard that when they lose, it’s because of Valverde, Coutinho… but not Messi.
“And when they win, Barcelona win because of Messi. It’s a tremendous lack of respect to all the players and the coaching staff.”
The two-time World Cup winner wasn’t done there. In fact, Ronaldo claimed that he wasn’t surprised that the Reds emerged victorious from the match.
“When a team are a lot more motivated, with an intensity that is noticeably greater than that of their opponents, [the comeback] can happen,” he explained.
“Liverpool’s intensity was not a surprise for Barcelona, but they lacked a bit of luck.
“The first leg was a great match by Barcelona, with an exceptional performance by Messi, but in the return fixture, Liverpool overwhelmed them with intensity, desire and a clinical nature.”
Valverde has come under fierce criticism for the Champions League defeat, with reports suggesting that the Spanish club are looking at a potential replacement for him in the summer.
While the 55-year-old Spaniard’s future remains uncertain, the Barcelona head coach came out after the Liverpool defeat to offer his apologies to the fans.
“We’re really sorry to the fans, we all play, all that we do is to make the fans happy, to make them proud of us. Everyone expects us to win all the time, but we have lost and in a very painful way,” he said.
“This is the first game we have lost in the Champions League this season but we are out. The players are the ones that play on the pitch, they are hurting more than anyone.”