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Messi blasts 'weak' team after Barcelona loses Spanish league title to Real Madrid

Real Madrid clinched the title by beating Villarreal 2-1 but would have lifted the trophy regardless of that result after Barcelona slumped to a 2-1 loss to an Osasuna side that finished with 10 men.

Published: 17th July 2020 11:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2020 11:28 AM   |  A+A-

Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts after the end of a Spanish La Liga soccer match with Osasuna at the Camp Nou stadium

Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts after the end of a Spanish La Liga soccer match with Osasuna at the Camp Nou stadium. (Photo| AP)

By Associated Press

BARCELONA: After seeing Barcelona's Spanish league title defense come to a disappointing and meek end, Lionel Messi didn't hold back.

Messi blasted his team for being "weak" after Real Madrid wrested the league title away from Barcelona for the first time in three years on Thursday, and said it must quickly change course to have a chance at winning the Champions League.

Real Madrid clinched the title by beating Villarreal 2-1 but would have lifted the trophy regardless of that result after Barcelona slumped to a 2-1 loss to an Osasuna side that finished with 10 men.

"This game represents the entire year. We have been an erratic and weak team. Madrid did its part by winning all its matches, which is impressive, but we also helped them to win this league. We have to be critical of how we have played, starting with the players, and the rest of the club," Messi said in a rare TV interview just after the final whistle sounded at an empty Camp Nou.

Barcelona led the league by two points over Madrid when the league was stopped in mid-March for three months while Spain's reined in its coronavirus outbreak. Madrid returned to the competition motivated and in shape, reeling off 10 straight wins.

Barcelona looked flat, drew three matches to lose the lead, and on Thursday hit a new low when it lost its first home match since November 2018. "The feeling on this team is that it tries, but that it cannot get the job done. Today in the first half they were better than we were and it seems we have to fall behind to react like we tried to do in the second half," Messi said.

Messi scored his league-leading 23rd goal from a free kick in the second half to cancel out José Arnaíz's opener. And Barcelona got a man advantage when the visitors lost substitute Enric Gallego to a straight red card for bloodying the mouth of Clement Lenglet with an elbow to the face in the 77th.

But Osasuna's Roberto Torres scored in stoppage time with Barcelona pushing forward searching for a late goal. "I said it some time ago, that playing like this we had no chance of winning the Champions League, and it turns out we didn't even have enough to win la Liga. We need to take a breather, let some air in, and clean out minds of all that has happened since December," Messi said.

Barcelona must regroup for the second leg of its Champions League round-of-16 match against Napoli on August 8. The first leg finished 1-1 in Italy. "Playing like this we will lose against Napoli. We have to start from zero in the Champions League and blame ourselves for what went wrong," Messi said.



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