Messi makes the difference when he wants, there's nothing you can do – Mallorca coach bracing himself


Lionel Messi can make the difference whenever he wants and there is nothing his opponents can do to stop him when he is in such a mood, Real Mallorca coach Vicente Moreno said ahead of Barcelona's visit to Son Moix.

After more than a three-month hiatus enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, LaLiga resumed on Thursday, and Barca will recommence their title charge in Palma on Saturday.

Hosts Mallorca – who are in the third relegation spot – could have dropped down to 19th by kick-off, and they are well aware of the mighty task that awaits them.

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Messi had been inspirational for a Barca side that many feel has underwhelmed this season prior to the suspension, the Argentina star scoring 19 goals – including a hat-trick against Mallorca at Camp Nou – and providing 12 assists, both of which are league-high figures.

Despite the possibility for a bit of rustiness after such a prolonged break, Moreno is expecting Messi to be as deadly as ever – but coming up against him is a privilege, the coach says.

"I think when you face Barcelona, you always have two sides," Moreno said on Friday. "On one hand, there is big excitement because you want to enjoy the chance of playing against this kind of player.

"We will have in front of us the best player in the world by far, who is Messi. There will be many more [players in the Barca team], but especially Messi, the one who makes the difference compared to the others.

"So, we will have the opportunity to enjoy watching Messi, and we have to as the football fans we are, but, on the other hand, we will suffer him as well. In fact, we did already in the other game when he scored a hat-trick.

"He is such a good player, so when he wants to make the differences, he just does it, and you can do nothing to stop him.

"I hope to have these chances many times. Playing against a team like Barcelona, or players like Messi, means that we stay in the top tier - if Messi keeps playing for many years, we can enjoy watching him too.

"If we keep struggling with him, that means we stay in the elite, and that's all we want."

Barca are set to be without Nelson Semedo after he was left out of training "as per protocol established by LaLiga" following reports he attended a party earlier in the week, flouting medical guidelines in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite widespread criticism of him, and the four Sevilla players who were caught breaking similar rules at a barbecue last month, Moreno has sympathy.

"I think players are also young people," he added. "They are also doing a big effort. Sometimes It looks like they don't have any other right, as they are earning that big amount of money, we are always judging the player because he is earning a lot of money.

"So, I've nothing to say. They are young people and they want, like all of us wanted, to get out from the lockdown and going out to dinner with friends. Many times they judge them correctly or wrongly, depending on some pictures that someone could have uploaded without your knowing.

"So, I understand him [Semedo] and I think he didn't have any bad intentions. Again, I believe we have to give confidence to the player and not kill him."`

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