Paris Saint-Germain defender, Dani Alves, has insisted Lionel Messi should not be held responsible, for Barcelona’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool.
Instead, Alves said the club’s recruitment team, should shoulder the blame.
Under Pep Guardiola, Barca won two Champions League titles in three seasons with the core of their players coming from the famed La Masia academy.
And Alves, who played at the Nou Camp during those years, feels the club have focused more on big-name signings recently.
Asked whether Barcelona had lost their style of play, the 36-year-old told ESPN FC: “I agree with that somewhat. When I see stories about how Barca are now buying players to market them, you can sense that they are changing their philosophy a bit. Barca were about developing players.
“They didn’t change their style; they signed players for specific positions. Now the feeling is they make too many moves on the market. But I also think that criticism is opportunistic. It’s easy to lecture after elimination. You know Barca still like to take care of the ball and make good passes. It doesn’t matter who comes in or who leaves, that’s their identity.
“Their philosophy on the pitch isn’t going to change. But it’s changed a little when it comes to the market. That happens in football. If they would have won the Treble, nobody would have said anything. In the last 10, 11 years, Barca have won plenty of league titles, something that Real Madrid haven’t done, but people defend [Real Madrid] because of their success in the Champions League.
“When Madrid are knocked out [of the Champions League], it’s like: ‘Hey, they haven’t won the league in so many years,’ but nobody talks about that. So it sounds a little opportunistic to analyse right after elimination, against a really, really good opponent such as Liverpool.”