Zubi: Messi deserves record recognition

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has said should Lionel Messi break the Primera scoring record, he should be honoured for it.

Messi is only two goals behind Telmo Zarra’s record of 251 and could beat it in the Clasico at the end of the month.

It’s been suggested that the game at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu could feature a tribute to Messi should he break the record during the match, but Zubi admitted that would be unusual.

“That has to do with American spectator sports, like basketball, where it happens more,” he said on Esport3, AS reports.

“It would be rare in football. He does deserve recognition though.

“I’ll settle for a goal against Eibar and a goal against Madrid, and for Barca to win.

“But we have seen the Bernabeu cheering Barca players before, and vice versa.”

Messi has spent part of the international break playing for Argentina in Asia, including a 2-0 defeat to Brazil in Beijing in which Messi missed a penalty.

The Argentina captain also failed from the spot earlier in the season for Barca but Zubizarreta insists there’s no problem with Messi from the spot.

He also touched on the duel between Neymar and Javier Mascherano during the China friendly, insisting that they had no choice but to be full-blooded considering the magnitude of any Argentina-Brazil fixture.

“I don’t think [Messi’s miss] will affect him. He’s very secure,” Zubizarreta said.

“Last year at the Bernabeu he scored twice [from penalties]. He’d prefer to score, to help his team.

“I’m not worried about Mascherano and Neymar because Masche is honest and Neymar is stronger than he looks.

“It was Argentina and Brazil. That’s more than a football match.”

Zubi was also asked about how he sees Messi developing in the future, and for his thoughts on how the partnership between Messi and Neymar is developing.

“Players evolve and Leo isn’t just a goal scorer. He understands the game,” he argued.

“He encompasses more phases of the game. Goals will always be there but not so ubiquitous. There’ll be combinations, shots and play. Other things can increase and he can grow.

“Leo plays more inside and Neymar goes into space and that can destabilise teams but also there are others like Pedro Rodriguez and Munir El Haddadi.

“Our rivals will analyse us and we’re always changing, the good teams always are.

“Last year was difficult for them both with injuries. Now there is more consistency.”

Tags Andoni Zubizarreta Lionel Messi