Lionel Messi believes Barcelona cannot win the Champions League if it returns this summer because of the tactical style and performances under manager Quique Setien.
Setien took over from Ernesto Valverde in January but has failed to turn the Catalan giant’s fortunes around with a series of bland displays, including a demoralising 2-0 defat in El Clasico back in March.
Barcelona are still two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga but it is on the European stage that Messi believes they will come up short under Setien.
They drew 1-1 with Napoli in the first leg of their last-16 tie before the football season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. But Messi thinks there is very little chance Barcelona can become European giants if they continue playing how they were.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper SPORT, Messi said: ‘What I think is that [Setien] misunderstood what I said.
‘What I said is that playing as we had been playing the last games before the break, it seemed clear that we weren’t enough to win the Champions League.
‘I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that you can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing.
‘Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable.
‘Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing.’
Setien, formerly of Real Betis, had previously revealed he dreamed of doing the double, saying: ‘I have told the players many times that I don’t have time to lose, and I’d like to win both the Champions League and LaLiga.’
While Messi thinks a European title is beyond Barcelona this season, he is hoping the break could help them get back to their best.
The Argentine added: ‘This break may end up benefiting us, but we are going to see if they can start the competitions and there we will leave doubts.
‘We will check the level that we have or can reach when we start.’
The Barcelona captain has not played since scoring a late winner against Real Sociedad on March 7, with Spanish football suspended amid the outbreak leaving his side top of the table by two points with 11 games to play.