Martino: 'I am not worried about Messi'

The Barca coach has stressed that the prolific attacker remains a key asset and has made it clear that Real Madrid cannot be written off just yet.
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has insisted that he is not worried about Lionel Messi after the Argentine attacker's underwhelming performance against Real Madrid on Saturday.

The 26-year-old has been struggling to find his best form since his return from injury and was outshone by Neymar in this weekend's 2-1 victory. However, Martino has insisted that his compatriot remains a key figure for Barca even if he does not score.

"I'm not worried about Messi, that's more something for people outside the club," Martino stated at a press conference. "Even if Lionel doesn't score, he's still important for the team. If people think Messi is not doing well with his current stats, his stats will be out of this world once he's back to his so-called best again.

"Messi playing on the right against Madrid? He can play in a number of positions and that's only a good thing for the team."

Martino then went on to stress that Real Madrid remains a title candidate even if it is trailing Barca by six points at the moment.

"Real Madrid remain a rival for the Liga title. This will not change until the numbers say otherwise," he said. "Like I said before, Atletico are in the title race as well."

Barcelona will be looking to extend its unbeaten run Tuesday when it takes on Celta Vigo.