Simeone: Messi the sum of teammates

Diego Simeone believes Lionel Messi has improved alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez, thereby confirming “all superstars need other players around them”.

Barcelona have continued to break records at a deadly rate since pairing up the ‘MSN’ in October 2014, and Simeone feels Messi has become even better in that time, rather than his star being hampered by the presence of other top forwards.

“Anyone can play badly, but the real value of each player lies in their ability to play football and not just with the ball,” the Atletico Madrid boss told La Nacion.

“That’s because many can play with the ball, but very few actually play football.

“The more football being played, the more competitive it becomes.

“I always seek to promote one idea: to win. I don’t want to just please myself or others.

“What non-negotiable trait must have a player have? Passion. It’s not just about playing well, it’s having that feeling.

“And to feel it, a player must have passion and the spirit of a youngster coming up the ranks.

“No one individual is more important than the team. Not even Lionel [Messi] because he’s improved with [Luis] Suarez and Neymar at their current level, despite being the best player of all time.

“This allows us to maintain the idea that superstars still need other players around them.

“[Pep] Guardiola built that all-conquering Barcelona team [between 2008 and 2011].

“He assembled the team he had in mind, but Luis Enrique took that winning team and strengthened and improved them further because the Barcelona of today can counterattack and both defend and score from set-pieces.

“They’re more complete and a team geared to break records.”

Tags Diego Simeone Lionel Messi Luis Suarez Neymar