Former Valencia and Argentina captain Roberto Ayala believes Pep Guardiola’s style of play at Barcelona has ‘damaged football’ despite that side’s success.
Ayala – who won 115 caps for Argentina and also played for Milan and Napoli in a 20-year career – said Guardiola’s Barca was ‘the best team I’ve seen’ but it has ultimately damaged the ability of defending.
"Guardiola's Barcelona is the best team I've seen in my life, but in a way it has damaged football,” Ayala told La Nacion.
“Now many defenders want to play the ball out as if they were in Barcelona, and they’re not able to. They’re not centre-midfielders.
“First you have to defend, to give security. You can’t lose sight of the fact that they are defenders first."
The Argentinean also spoke of recent criticism of Lionel Messi in his homeland after his decision to temporarily retire from international football: "I imagine that the criticism hurts him, more for a guy who gets better year after year and with the selección has not yet been able to win anything.”