‘Messi covers up problems at Barcelona’ – La Liga giants will always be ‘great’, says misfit Malcom
The Brazilian forward struggled to make an impact during his time at Camp Nou, but he has no regrets or concerns over the club’s immediate future
Lionel Messi’s quality does cover up problems at Barcelona, admits Malcom, but he is far from the only superstar at Camp Nou helping to ensure that the club remains “great” in times of trouble.
The Liga giants are enduring a testing period at present, with the 2019-20 campaign not playing out as planned.
A change in the dugout has been made, with back-to-back title winner Ernesto Valverde replaced by Quique Setien, while Real Madrid have dislodged their arch-rivals at the top of the table.
Exit talk has also surfaced around six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, with it suggested that the Argentine is growing disillusioned with life in Catalunya.
The mercurial South American has remained a talismanic presence amid the questions, with three assists provided on his most recent outing, and any potential crisis has been averted.
Malcom, who left Barca for Zenit in the summer of 2019, concedes that the presence of an all-time great helps the Blaugrana to paper over cracks.
He told Marca: “Yes, some of them, yes. But with Leo, there’s [Luis] Suarez, [Antoine] Griezmann, [Ivan] Rakitic, [Frenkie] De Jong, Arthur [Melo], [Arturo] Vidal… lots of other players, too. It’s not just Leo, it’s the whole group.
“Leo is the best player in the world; sometimes he does crazy things and helps Barcelona out a lot.
“That’s why sometimes when they speak about Barcelona, they speak about Leo. It’s normal because of everything he does.”
Malcom was unable to make the impact expected of him during a solitary season with Barca, but he expects a global heavyweight to remain competitive regardless of any supposed issues on and off the pitch.
The Brazilian forward added: “Barcelona have great players. They can be calm because whoever plays is a good player and there are only great players there.
“At Barcelona, players come in, players leave and players stay. It doesn’t matter. Barcelona don’t change much, the system doesn’t change much, it will always be a great club.”
Malcom took in just 24 appearances for Barcelona in the 2018-19 campaign, having arrived from Bordeaux amid much fanfare, but has no regrets at how his time in Spanish football played out.
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“The only thing that stays [with me] is that each time I had the opportunity, I was ready to play – no one can say otherwise,” he said.
“When I was on the pitch, I gave everything; I did well, I gave the game a bit more energy.
“I left a bit sad, but I knew that I’d fulfilled my dream. I played in the Champions League, I scored against Real Madrid in a Clasico and I left with a calm head because I did a good job.”